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Scheme Application, Renewal and Exemptions

The Scheme provides an important framework for self-regulation by supporting eligible LIV members to reduce their exposure to complaints and claims in return for limiting liability.

Applying for Scheme Participation

The Scheme applies to:

  • All full members of the LIV who hold current practising certificates unless they are corporate or government legal practitioners, or are exempt
  • All incorporated legal practices that are LIV members.

The Scheme operates on a ‘one-in-all-in’ basis to limit liability in the event of a claim of contributory negligence or vicarious liability. Therefore, the LIV recommends that:

  • All legal practitioners (employees, partners and officers) with an Australian practising certificate participate; and
  • If the law practice is an incorporated legal practice, it and all officers and employees who hold an Australian practising certificate, and any associated incorporated legal practices (and their officers and employees) participate in the Scheme.

Please refer to the Scheme Guide, FAQs and Scheme Compliance Requirements section of the website for more information.

Applying for a Scheme Exemption

Professional Standards Schemes are not ‘opt-in’ schemes. All eligible members are deemed to be a participating member unless an exemption has been approved. 

Professional Standards Legislation allows the LIV to consider applications for a scheme exemption.  The exemption application process focuses on an individual risk assessment of a firm and their clients.

It is important to note, as the LIV scheme operates on a ‘one in all in’ basis and requires all eligible associates and/or participating members in a legal practice to be scheme members subject to an exemption application. LIV refers members to the Professional Standards Act 2003 (Vic) section 20 - 22 ‘Other persons to whom a scheme applies’. 

Applications for an exemption must address the prescribed criteria which requires:

  • a review of their legal service, client profile and risk management framework
  • an assessment of adequacy of their current professional indemnity insurance policy coverage
  • consideration of the appropriateness of top-up cover to manage uncapped liability
  • acknowledgement of the consequences of unlimited liability for individual principles and law practices

The LPLC has developed a Risk Management Audit Checklist to assist legal practitioners to  determine and monitor whether their practice is at risk of a negligence claim arising from poor management of the retainer or the matter.  The checklist provides an excellent tool for members to undertake a risk assessment.

Applying for a Higher Limit of Liability

While the Professional Standards Act prohibits contracting out of a Scheme the LIV has discretion to increase the monetary ceiling in accordance with Scheme Instrument.

Higher caps may be approved in relation to all cases or in any specified case or class of case.

An application for a higher liability cap can be lodged using the prescribed form downloadable from the www.liv.asn.au/professionalstandards.

LIV recommends that applicants discuss proposed higher caps with the LIV Professional Standards Scheme Administrator prior to lodging an application. 

Forms

To participate in the Scheme, seek an exemption or apply for higher limits of liability you will need complete the appropriate form.

If you are not already an LIV member you will also need to complete the Membership Application Form.

If there are staff changes, or an incorporated legal practice is created or dissolved during the Scheme membership period you must advise the LIV immediately by emailing membership@liv.asn.au.

2019/20 Scheme Participation Form
2019/20 Membership Application Form
Scheme Exemption Application Form
Higher Limit of Liability Application Form

Fees

Scheme fees are $167 for each Scheme participant. All fees are inclusive of GST.

From this amount, the Professional Standards Regulations 2007 require the LIV to pay an annual fee for each Scheme participant. Currently set at $50 for each participating member, this fee is payable in full, regardless of when participation in the Scheme commences.

Renewal Guide

A Scheme renewal notice will be sent along with LIV Membership renewal notices in May each year. To facilitate your law practice’s reliance on the Scheme, all LIV membership and Scheme fees must be paid and all relevant forms returned prior to 1 July, being the commencement of the annual Scheme participation period (1 July to 30 June). Specifically, you will need to ensure:

  • LIV membership fees are paid for each practising employee*
  • Scheme fees are paid for each practising employee*
  • Scheme fees are paid for each incorporated legal practice^
  • A Scheme participation form is completed for any new practitioners and/or entities*^

*employees holding a current Australian practising certificate
^only required if the entity is registered as an incorporated legal practice
*^who are not already participating in the Scheme

Further Information

Our Member Engagement team is available to assist if you have any questions about LIV membership or Scheme participation, and can be contacted at membership@liv.asn.au or 03 9607 9470.