To practise as a solicitor in Queensland a person must hold a practising certificate issued by the Society or by the designated regulatory authority in another Australian jurisdiction.
A practising certificate issued by the Society entitles the holder to engage in legal practice in Queensland, subject to compliance with the Legal Profession Act 2007, the Legal Profession Regulation 2017, the Queensland Law Society Administration Rule 2005 and:
- statutory conditions;
- any discretionary conditions;
- contributions to the Legal Practitioners Fidelity Guarantee Fund (where required); and
- Professional Indemnity Insurance coverage (where required).
Applying for a Queensland practising certificate
To apply for a grant of a practising certificate, you must:
- complete the approved application form - refer to list of documents to support your application
- collect all required documents
- submit the above to QLS along with your payment.
Allow 20 working days for processing before your practising certificate is emailed to you (please note during peak period times, processing may take longer).
An employee may practise in the time between lodging an application for a grant of a certificate and receipt of the certificate; see s24(3) of the Legal Profession Act 2007 and make the necessary disclosures in writing to your employer.
A lawyer may apply for a practising certificate and membership of Queensland Law Society (QLS) at any time, as long as their name remains on the Roll of Legal Practitioners. Renewal of practising certificates are renewed during May each year.
Practising certificates are issued at principal and employee levels.
Principal level practising certificates
Unrestricted principal practising certificates are issued to principals of law practices. Principals must satisfy the Practice Management Course requirements and be covered by professional indemnity insurance in accordance with the Indemnity Rule.
Restricted principal practising certificates are issued to those principals who have not yet completed the required period of supervised legal practice. A restricted principal practising certificate cannot be issued to a sole practitioner.
Limited principal practising certificates are issued to specified classes of practitioner e.g. the principal solicitor in a community legal service. (See r10 of the Administration Rule)
Employee level practising certificates
Unrestricted employee practising certificates are issued to all solicitors who have completed supervised legal practice and who do not hold themselves out as principals in private practice.
Government lawyers are eligible to obtain a certificate. These lawyers, employed by government departments are not required to hold practising certificates so long as they are only engaged in government work (see s12 Legal Profession Act 2007).
Solicitors who are employed as in house Counsel by a corporation obtain an employee level certificate subject to a condition to provide only in-house legal services to the corporation or a related body corporate.
Some lawyers do not have just one job or one role. If you have any queries about the correct certificate, contact the Records team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1300 367 757.
Restricted employee practising certificates are issued to solicitors who have not completed the required period of supervised legal practice. See s56 of the Legal Profession Act 2007 and Rule 15 of the Queensland Law Society Administration Rule. This certificate is upgraded to an unrestricted certificate when the solicitor is able to supply the required statutory declaration that he or she has completed the necessary period of supervised legal practice.
Volunteer practising certificates
Volunteer practising certificates are issued to those solicitors who are not employed but who volunteer at a community legal centre.