Frequently asked questions
The Board is the regulator of the legal profession in Victoria and can provide information on its regulatory functions and policy. The Board does not provide legal advice or professional services.
Below you can find some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the Board.
What is the relationship between the Legal Services Board, the Law Institute, and the Victorian Bar?
The Legal Services Board is an independent public authority that regulates legal services in Victoria. The Board operates under the Legal Profession Act 2004 (Vic). See information about the Board. The Board has delegated some aspects of its functions to professional associations – the Law Institute of Victoria (“the LIV”) and the Victorian Bar Inc (“the Bar”). Delegated functions include the consideration of practising certificate applications. Delegated functions are carried out in accordance with any applicable Board policy.
Can Board staff give me legal advice ?
No, Board staff cannot give legal advice to members of the public. See further information on the Contact Us page.
Legal Profession FAQs
How do I get a certificate of good standing?
This certificate is generally required by practitioners as evidence they appear on the Supreme Court Victoria roll of persons admitted to the legal profession in Victoria. Please contact the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Who can witness a statutory declaration?
The Evidence Act 1958 (Vic) specifies who may witness a statutory declaration in Victoria.
These persons include both Australian lawyers and Australian legal practitioners. Under the Legal Profession Act 2004 (Vic), an Australian lawyer is a person who is admitted to the legal profession under that Act (or a corresponding law interstate) but such a person does not have to hold a practising certificate. An Australian legal practitioner is a person holding a current local or interstate practising certificate.
Who can receive an affidavit?
Section 123C (g) of the Evidence Act 1958 (Vic) states that only an Australian legal practitioner (within the meaning of the Legal Profession Act 2004 (Vic)) can receive an affidavit in Victoria. An Australian legal practitioner is a person who holds a current local or interstate practising certificate.
Can I practise in Victoria on an interstate practising certificate?
An interstate legal practitioner is entitled to engage in legal practice in Victoria to substantially the same extent they are entitled to do so in their home jurisdiction.
Can I practise Australian law in Victoria if I am an overseas qualified lawyer?
Overseas qualified lawyers must be admitted to the legal profession under the Legal Profession Act 2004 (Vic) or a corresponding law interstate before applying for a practising certificate. If you would like further information about admission to the legal profession in Victoria, please contact the Board of Examiners or the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Foreign lawyers may be able to practise the law of their home countries in Victoria. See further information on how to register as a Foreign lawyer.
How do I know if I am subject to supervised legal practice?
Section 2.4.18 (1) of the Legal Profession Act 2004 (Vic) places a statutory condition on each local practising certificate granted under the Act, that the holder must engage only in supervised legal practice after the grant of his or her first practising certificate, until he or she has completed the required period of supervised legal practice. The required period is either 18 months or two years, depending on how the person qualified for admission.
An identical requirement is placed on interstate legal practitioners who engage in legal practice in Victoria under s2.4.35 of the Act.
The supervised legal practice condition does not apply to:
i. the holder of a local practising certificate who is a barrister; or
ii. a person who held an Australian practising certificate at any time before 12 December 2005.
Can I volunteer at a community legal centre?
A legal practitioner may practise as a volunteer at a community legal centre on any ‘type’ of practising certificate. That is, if you hold a principal, employee or corporate practising certificate you may also engage in legal practice as a volunteer at a community legal centre without having to apply for a volunteer practising certificate.
If you are an Australian lawyer who does not hold a practising certificate, you may obtain a practising certificate authorising you to engage in practice solely as a volunteer at a community legal centre, without fee.
I am going overseas and want to maintain my practising certificate while away. What do I need to do?
You have a number of additional responsibilities if you wish to maintain a practising certificate while overseas (unless you are working overseas for a Victorian law practice). The Board has prepared an information sheet for practitioners who are living overseas but who wish to maintain their Victorian practising certificate. See further information on maintaining a practising certificate whilst overseas.
My details have changed. What do I need to do?
If you have:
a. changed your name
b. changed jobs
c. changed your address for service
d. changed business names (for a sole practitioner)
e. changed to or from practice solely as a barrister
you must inform the Board in writing within 14 days after the change has occurred, in the approved form. Login to LSB Online to change your details online or download the Change of Information Form from the Forms page.
If you wish to make changes to details of your law practice, you must also notify the Board by completing the approved form. Download the Notification of Change of Information – Law Practice form from the Forms page.
Where can I open a general trust account?
The Board has arrangements with the following banks (called “approved deposit-taking institutions”):
- ANZ Bank
- Bank of Queensland
- Bendigo Bank (and related Community Banks)
- Commonwealth Banking Corporation
- Macquarie Bank
- National Australia Bank
- St George Bank/Bank of Melbourne
You can open a trust account in any branch of these banks.
Do I have to notify the Board of my trust account details?
Section 3.3.12 of the Legal Profession Act 2004 (Vic) states that a law practice or approved clerk must notify the Board of the opening, closing or change of information of a trust account within 14 days. For further information see Trust accounts.
What happens to the interest earned on a trust account?
Banks who manage solicitors’ trust accounts are required to report daily to the Board on the total deposits, withdrawals and the balance of all trust accounts.
Any interest earned on trust accounts is paid into the Board’s public purpose fund. If you become aware that interest is being paid directly into your trust account you need to contact the Board or your bank immediately.
How do I operate a statutory deposit account?
See information about how to open and operate an SDA.
I want to open a trust account in a foreign currency. Is this possible?
Although the Legal Profession Act 2004 (Vic) does not prohibit the opening of a trust account in a foreign currency, it is the Board’s experience that Banks are reluctant to operate foreign currency trust accounts.
Prohibited Lay Associate FAQs
The Board have prepared a series of FAQs on the specific issue of Prohibited Lay Associates. These FAQs are available as a downloadable PDF document from the Information sheets page.
How can I find out details about a particular practitioner?
The Legal Services Board is required to maintain a Register under section 6.2.23 of the Legal Profession Act 2004 (Vic). The information on this Register is available for public inspection, without charge, at the Board’s office. The Register provides details of current local legal practitioners, current locally registered foreign lawyers, and law practices that engage in legal practice in Victoria.
A form of the Register is also available on the Board’s website
How can I check whether a particular practitioner has been involved in a disciplinary matter?
The Legal Services Board is responsible for maintaining a Register of disciplinary action taken under the Legal Profession Act 2004 (Vic). Disciplinary actions taken under the previous legislation (i.e. the Legal Practice Act 1996) are not included on the Register. Disciplinary decisions arising under the Legal Practice Act may be recorded on the Legal Profession Tribunal and the Supreme Court of Victoria websites. See further information about the Register of disciplinary action.
How do I complain about a lawyer?
Please contact the Legal Services Commissioner.