Admission to the legal profession

Below is a list of frequently asked questions and answers regarding admission to the legal profession in Queensland.

Supervised traineeships

How soon can I start a traineeship once I have completed university?

To be eligible to commence a traineeship (supervised workplace experience) a person must have completed their academic qualifications and be a suitable person to be admitted to the legal profession.

Completion of academic qualifications can be confirmed by a letter from the Dean/Head of School at the university where you have completed your qualifications; that letter stating that you have completed the Priestley 11 areas of knowledge as well as the requirements to be awarded a degree in law as well as a copy of your academic transcript from the university where you have completed your academic qualifications.

Refer 2004 Rule 9B

As a Supervised Trainee, how soon can I apply for admission?

A Supervised Traineeship is required to be undertaken for a minimum period of one year. Rule 9E provides details for working out the period of the traineeship and Rule 9G provides limitations within which the training must be completed. The traineeship period can include the time up to and including your admission date.

Refer 2004 Rule 9E and 9G

How do I fill out the Form 2 - Notice of Registration?

An information kit (Kit to Register Supervised Trainee) can be found on the Queensland Law Society website.

The documents required include a completed original Form 2, a copy of the trainees academic transcript and any relevant supporting documents relating to suitability matters.

What is the fee to register a supervised traineeship?

The current fee is $64.00. The fee is payable by cheque or over the phone by credit card (all cheques are to be made out to the ‘Legal Practitioners Admissions Board’).

Applicants or law firms can pay by credit card by calling the Board on (07) 3842 5985.

Refer 2007 Regulation

I am considering undertaking on a Supervised Trainee. What is involved?

Supervised Traineeships are governed by Part 2A of the Supreme Court (Admission) Rules 2004 which can be viewed on-line at either the Office of the Parliamentary Council website (www.legislation.qld.gov.au) or the Queensland Courts website (www.courts.qld.gov.au).

The rules provide for the following:

  • A person eligible to be a trainee must have completed an ‘approved academic qualification’ or a ‘corresponding academic qualification’, and be a suitable person to be admitted to the legal profession under the Legal Profession Act 2007.
    Refer 2004 Rule 9B
  • Persons eligible to supervise trainees must practice principally in Queensland and must have practiced in any of the manners described under Rule 9C(1)(b). Certain disqualifications exist in relation to being a supervisor under Rules 9C(1)(c) and 9D.
    Refer 2004 Rule 9C & 9D
  • The traineeship must be for a minimum of at least 1 year.
    Refer 2004 Rule 9E and 9G
  • The number of trainees which a sole practitioner, law practise or office may have are provided for under Rule 9F. As a general guide a sole practitioner/partner is able to have 2 trainees and each eligible supervisor is able to have one trainee. It should be noted that no supervisor is able to supervise more than 2 trainees at a time.
    Refer 2004 Rule 9F
  • Each trainee is required to complete 5 practise areas, 4 skills areas and one values area.
    Refer 2004 Rule 7A and 9AA(1)(b) and Guideline 1 of 2016
  • Each trainee is required to complete 90 hours of ‘approved programmed training’; that training to be completed with a PLT provider and to include training in Ethics.
    Refer 2004 Rule 9O
  • If a trainee is unable to complete one of the practise, skills or values areas within the firm, the trainee is able to complete the requirement by rotating to another firm or completing ‘approved supplementary training’ with a PLT provider.
    Refer 2004 Rule 9P and Schedule 1 Dictionary
  • The principal of a law practise or person in charge of a law office must maintain a traineeship register including the name of each trainee and the trainees current supervisor.
    Refer 2004 Rule 9H

An information kit (Kit to Register Supervised Trainee) can be found on the Queensland Law Society website. A firm or office wanting to register a traineeship must provide a completed Form 2 and any additional documents within one month of the commencement of the traineeship. Refer 2004 Rule 9I

Firms, offices and trainees are able to obtain traineeship plans (including the trainee register) and diaries from the Queensland Law Society website.

Early consideration of suitability

I haven't yet graduated from my law degree. Does that preclude early consideration of a suitability matter?

No. You can apply for early consideration of suitability matters at any time, however you should be aware that any determination made by the Board is binding.

Therefore, it may be prudent to take into consideration future behaviours and/or circumstances which may impact positively on any suitability matters which you may disclose to the Board as part of an application for early consideration. Such future behaviours and/or circumstances may include, for example, being discharged from bankruptcy. 

Refer 2007 Act Section 32(4)

How can I determine if my suitability issues will adversely affect my application for admission?

Section 39 of the Legal Profession Act 2007 (‘the Act’) requires the Board to consider each application for admission and make a recommendation to the Supreme Court as to whether or not, amongst other things, an applicant is suitable for admission having regard to all suitability matters in relation to each applicant to the extent appropriate.

As part of the process to enable consideration of suitability matters, sections 32 and 33 of the Act allows applicants intending to seek admission to apply for early consideration of suitability. These provisions allow a person to apply for a declaration from the Board that the suitability matters will not, without more, adversely affect the Board’s assessment of their suitability for admission. The provisions also allow the Board to refer matters to the Supreme Court if it requires a direction, or refuse to make the declaration sought and, indeed, allows applicants to appeal the Board’s determination to the Supreme Court.

In order to make such an application, you will be required to provide the following:

  • A letter requesting a declaration pursuant to section 32 of the Act;
  • A sworn affidavit (not filed) detailing the circumstances relating to your suitability issues;
  • Original copies of any documents relating to your suitability issues;
  • A copy of any academic qualification (academic transcript) allowing eligibility for admission; and
  • Three Form 8 Certificates of Suitability.

The onus is upon the applicant to satisfy the Board of his/her suitability/fitness for admission.

Naturally, it should be noted the legislative provisions dealing with applications for early consideration of suitability do not in any way detract from an applicant’s ongoing obligation to the Board, and more importantly the Supreme Court, in relation to suitability issues when applying for admission.

Refer 2007 Act Section 32, 33 and 39

Admission applications

Can someone else collect my certificate of recommendation from the Board?

Yes. Anyone can collect the copy of your certificate.

When am I making my application for admission to the legal profession?

You are making your application for admission to the legal profession at any sittings fixed as an admission sitting of the Court of Appeal. You are not making your application on the day when you file your application in the Supreme Court and/or serving your application on the Board.

Refer 2004 Rule 10(1)

Where can I find an Admission Kit?

Admission kits are available on the Queensland Law Society website.

Does the Admissions Board have an “Application Pack” for admission of Overseas Qualified Lawyer?

Yes. If you are an overseas qualified lawyer or graduate and you are ready to apply for admission i.e., you have fulfilled all of the necessary academic and practical legal training requirements, you can apply for admission using an admission kit for PLT students. The Form 7 has a relevant section for overseas qualified lawyers and graduates.

Please note that any overseas qualified lawyer, i.e. a person who has been admitted in an overseas jurisdiction, is required to provide additional documentation dated not less than 2 or 6 months old at the time that the application for admission is made, those additional documents to include:

  1. Certificate/s of Good Standing from each overseas jurisdiction in which the applicant has been admitted, practised law, or been employed in an international law firm or legal profession, such Certificates to be dated not less than 2 months old at the date of the hearing of the application for admission. The Board has discretion to exempt provision of such certificates if special circumstances were seen to exist  and the applicant applies to the Board for dispensation from this requirement; and
  2. Police History Checks from each overseas jurisdiction in which the applicant has lived, such Certificates to be dated not less than 6 months old at the date of the hearing of the application for admission. The Board has discretion to exempt provision of such police check if special circumstances were seen to exist and the applicant applies to the Board for dispensation from this requirement; and
  3. An affidavit providing a chronological time-line of details of overseas jurisdictions in which they have lived, been admitted, practised law, and/or been employed in an international law firm or legal profession.
How long before the admission date can I get the forms signed?

You can sign the forms whenever you like; however, if something changes regarding to your admission e.g. you receive a speeding fine, the forms will need to be amended, resigned and resubmitted to reflect the change in your circumstances. It is therefore preferable if you have the forms signed closer to your admission date.

The 'Check List Prior to Admission' in the Kit refers to steps to be taken a certain number of days prior to admission. Is the reference to ‘days’ a reference to calendar or business days?

The reference to 'days' is a reference to calendar days, not just business days.

Your attention is drawn to Section 38 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1954 which provides for reckoning of time in relation to certain ‘events’. In respect of admission applications the day of the event is the admission day.

 Refer 1954 Interpretation Act Section 38

How do I advertise in the Queensland Law Reporter?

You need to contact the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (ICLR) which publishes the Queensland Law Reporter to ascertain the procedures for advertising in this publication.

To advertise in the Queensland Law Reporter, please follow the instructions at http://www.queenslandreports.com.au/advertising/how-to-advertise

You are required to advertise in the Queensland Law Reporter at least 14, but not more than 28 days before the sittings in which you intend to apply for admission.

Refer 2004 Rule 12(3) & (4)

I have obtained my law degree in another Australian State. Will I need to provide any additional paperwork?

Yes. You will be required to provide a letter from the admitting authority in the relevant State confirming that you have satisfied all academic requirements for admission in that State.

The letter from the admitting authority is NOT a letter from the university where you completed your degree.

I have not yet 'graduated' from my law degree. What documentation can I provide instead of my LL.B?

If you have not yet attended your graduation ceremony to have your LL.B conferred on you, you are required to provide a letter from your university in lieu of your LL.B stating that you have completed all of the requirements of your law degree and that you will be graduating at a future ceremony.

If you are not eligible to obtain your LL.B, i.e. you have not completed your law degree, you are not eligible for admission.

If you provide a letter in lieu of your LL.B, the original is required.

Refer 2004 Rule 13(2)(k)

How should I address a change of name within my Affidavit?

You are required to provide your FULL name on your admission documents and any supporting documents. Some applicants may also need to include other names by which they are/have been known, for example, maiden names, names changed by deed poll, etc.

If you are required to address a change of name in your affidavit, you will need to include a paragraph to the following effect:

“I Mary Jane Smith (nee Jones) am one and the same person as …Mary Jane Jones…. and…Mary Jones etc.”

You will also need to exhibit documentary evidence of your change of name, for example a Marriage Certificate, Decree Nisi, Deed Poll, etc.

If you have adopted an Anglicised name, for example, by immigrating from another country, you need to include all of your names, ie your legal name and your Anglicised name. 

Do I need to note my maiden name on admission forms if I completed my degree and practical training since being married?

Yes.  You will need to include your FULL name and other names by which you are or have been known on all of your admission forms and any supporting documents. Where part of your name has not been included on a document e.g. your law degree, you should address this issue in your affidavit as detailed in the previous question.

What happens to my original supporting documents once I have lodged (served) them?

When your application is lodged with (served on) the Board, your original documents will be sighted by the Boards staff, a copy (which you provide) taken and the original returned to you. If you post your application to the Board, you will be required to include a stamped, self addressed envelope if you wish for your original documents to be returned.

The Board will not keep your original supporting documents. You must ensure that you bring copies of all documents with your application for the Board to keep once sighted against the original.

What happens with my application if I have any outstanding fines?

The Board requires all suitability matters to be finalised, including payment of any outstanding penalties, fines, debts, etc. Therefore, if you are required to finalise a suitability matter, you should do so prior to applying for admission. You will then be required to provide proof of finalisation with your admissions application.

What happens after lodgement (service) of my admission application?

Once your application and affidavit have been lodged (served), your application will be considered by the Board at a meeting held approximately one week before the admission sittings.

How did my admission application go?

If there is a problem with your admission application, we will contact you. If you do not hear from us by 9am on the Thursday morning prior to the admission ceremony, you can assume your application has been recommended, a copy of your certificate of recommendation can be collected at your convenience from the LPAB office. We will file the original of your certificate of recommendation in the Supreme Court Registry on your behalf.

If the admission ceremony is on a Thursday, you will hear from us no later than 9am on the Tuesday prior to the admission day.

Refer 2004 Rule 15(3)

When can I pick up the Boards certificate of recommendation?

A copy of your recommendation will be available to be collected at your convenience prior to the admission sitting. Therefore, if the admission ceremony is on a Monday, the recommendations will be available on the Thursday and Friday prior to the ceremony; if the admission ceremony is on a Wednesday/Thursday, the recommendations will be available on the Monday to Wednesday prior to the ceremony.

Please note that the Board's staff will file your original recommendation on your behalf.  You are able to collect for your records.

Admission ceremonies

What does my mover need to say when moving my admission?

The movers text on the first page of all the Admission Kits. In addition, you will be provided with a 'What to do Next' sheet when you collect the copy of your certificate of recommendation.

Who can be a mover?

Please refer to section 24A of the Legal Profession Act 2007.

How can I find out future admission dates in Queensland?

For the Brisbane sittings, go to the courts website, under ‘Admissions'. Only the dates detailed on the Courts website are available, any future dates having not yet been  released.

For regional sittings, you will need to contact the relevant Supreme Court Registry (go to the Courts website under 'Contact Us' and 'Courthouse Contacts') to ascertain the ceremony dates.

What time is the admission ceremony?

The admission list is usually published on the Daily Law List on the Courts website after 5:30pm on the business day prior to admission (if the admission is on a Monday, the list is available by close of business on the Friday prior) or alternatively it is published in the Courier Mail on the morning of the admission day.

The Board’s staff are not informed of the ceremony times until the Daily Law List is posted.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure they and their mover attend the correct ceremony.

In what order do the admission applications get heard at the ceremony?

At each sitting, the most senior mover is heard first, for example Queens Counsel, Senior Counsel, Barristers and Solicitors.

Can my mover also be one of my referees and do I have to disclose my suitability matters to my mover?

Yes. Your mover can be one of your referees or supervisors provided they are eligible to be a mover under s24AA of Legal Professional Act 2007.

It is highly advisable that you disclose any suitability matters to your mover since they are appearing on your behalf before the Court of Appeal.

Miscellaneous questions

Can you issue me with a copy of my Admission Certificate?

No. You will need to contact the Registrar of the Supreme Court. The Legal Practitioners Admissions Board does not issue or hold copies of Certificates of Admission.

If I am a trainee/PLT student, what can I put on my business card after my name?

This largely depends on the preferences of your employer. It is acceptable to put 'LL.B' or 'Law Graduate' if you have completed your degree. In addition, if you have registered as a Supervised Trainee, you can refer to yourself as a 'Supervised Trainee' on your business card.

Alternatively, you may consider using titles such as law clerk or legal officer.

You should note that, whatever description you choose to include on your business card, you should ensure that you are NOT being seen to hold yourself out as a solicitor, barrister or lawyer in any way.

I have just completed my practical legal training course. Is there a time limit to when I can seek admission to the legal profession?

No. There is no time limit; however, it is recommended that you apply for admission sooner rather than later as any legislative change could result in you becoming ineligible for admission in the future.

When can I call myself a solicitor or barrister?

Once you have been admitted under Section 5 of the Legal Profession Act 2007, you are an 'Australian lawyer' or a 'local lawyer'. Once you obtain a practising certificate under Section 6 you become an 'Australian legal practitioner' or 'local legal practitioner'. It is at this point that you are able to refer to yourself as either a solicitor or barrister. 

Refer 2007 Act Section 5, 6 and Schedule 2 Dictionary

Do I need to go through the Mutual Recognition Act if I am admitted in another Australian State or Territory?

No. As Queensland is part of the National Profession, you are no longer required to apply for admission through the Mutual Recognition scheme. Based on your interstate admission you are entitled to apply directly to the Law Society or the Bar Association for a practising certificate as either a solicitor or barrister respectively.

You should contact the Queensland Bar Association or the Queensland Law Society to determine how to obtain a practising certificate.

You should note that there are additional requirements in order to obtain a practising certificate as a barrister.