Professional obligations

This page contains some information about professional obligations for practitioners. 

Supervised legal practice

Every legal practitioner must complete the required period of supervised legal practice, unless exempted in whole or in part. 

Section 56 of the Legal Profession Act 2007 (the Act) imposes a condition on a practising certificate requiring the holder to engage in supervised legal practice until he or she has completed a period of supervised legal practice between 18 and 24 months. If a solicitor completed: supervised legal training as the basis for admission (eg articles of clerkship) then he or she must complete 18 months of supervised legal practice; or practical legal training as the basis for admission (eg a graduate diploma) then he or she must complete 24 months of supervised legal practice. 

Once the required period of supervised legal practice has been served, the practitioner can apply to the Society under s56(1) of the Act by statutory declaration for the condition to be removed. That statutory declaration must show how the applicant has complied with s56(1) of the Act. A sample statutory declaration is set out below. If the practitioner believes there are grounds for a reduction to or exemption from the required period of supervised legal practice, he or she may make an application under s56(3) of the Act. Such application should be made by statutory declaration annexing all supporting documentation and addressing the matters required under s56(3) of the Act. These matters include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • the dates the applicant engaged in legal practice;
  •  the length and nature of legal practice engaged in; 
  • whether the applicant held a practising certificate, local admission or registration while engaging in legal practice; 
  • whether there was any supervision while the applicant was engaged in legal practice; 
  • the name and qualification of the supervisor and details of the type of practising certificate the supervisor held; 
  • the length and nature of legal practice engaged in by the supervisor; 
  • the jurisdiction in which the applicant engaged in legal practice, and details of its similarity to engaging in legal practice in Queensland; 
  • full details of hours (if applicant did not engage in legal practice on a full time basis) or details of broken periods, if relevant; other relevant matters.

Guidance on making applications under ss.56(1) and 56(3) of the Act is provided below:

  • Sample statutory declaration for applications under s56 (1) of the Act
  • Guidelines for applications under s56 (3) of the Act.

Applications should be sent to records@qls.com.au

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Legal practitioners must complete at least ten CPD units each CPD year (which runs from 1 April to 31 March).  

The CPD Rules are contained in Part 6 of the Queensland Law Society Administration Rule 2005.  The CPD Committee has published a CPD Guide which provides guidelines on CPD compliance for Queensland legal practitioners. 

See our Continuing Professional Development pages for more information. 

Practice Management Course

A legal practitioner who holds a current Practice Management Course (PMC) Statement or is granted a waiver or deferment by QLS, is eligible to hold a principal practising certificate.  A practitioner who holds a principal practising certificate is entitled to engage in legal practice as a partner of a law firm or multi-disciplinary practice, a sole practitioner or a legal practitioner director, subject to any restrictions, limitations or conditions on his or her practising certificate. 

See our Practice Management Course pages for more information. 

Practices Structures

The Legal Profession Act 2007 (the Act) defines "law practice" as a law firm, an incorporated legal practice, a multi-disciplinary practice or an Australian legal practitioner who is a sole practitioner.  "Law firm" is defined as comprising only Australian legal practitioners, or one or more Australian legal practitioners and one or more Australian-registered foreign lawyers.  The meaning of the terms "incorporated legal practice" and "multi-disciplinary practice" are set out in s111 and s144 of the Act.

It is the Society's view that engaging in legal practice in a structure outside the definitions contained in the Act is not permissible and may involve a breach of s24 of the Act (prohibition on engaging in legal practice when not entitled).  A breach of s24 has a number of consequences, including an inability to recover fees for anything done in contravention of the section and a liability to repay any fees already received.