Practising certificates for in-house lawyers
The Board may issue a practising certificate subject to the condition that the holder is entitled to engage in legal practice as a “corporate legal practitioner”.
A corporate legal practitioner is an Australian legal practitioner who engages in practice as an employee of a person who, or a body that, is not:
- An Australian legal practitioner; or
- An Australian-registered foreign lawyer; or
- A law practice.
If you hold a corporate practising certificate, you should take care to practise only in these circumstances. Providing legal services outside these circumstances is a ground for the Board to amend, suspend or cancel your practising certificate.
Professional indemnity insurance
The Legal Profession Act 2004 (Vic) (“the Act”) does not generally impose an obligation on a corporate legal practitioner to maintain professional indemnity insurance.
If you wish to provide pro bono legal services outside of a community legal centre you must be covered by professional indemnity insurance on terms and conditions approved by the Board.
Practising under the Act
A corporate legal practitioner is subject to requirements imposed on an Australian legal practitioner, including under the Act, regulations and legal profession rules such as the Continuing Professional Development Rules 2007 and the Professional Conduct and Practice Rules 2005.
Acting as a solicitor on the record
The Professional Conduct and Practice Rules 2005 provide that a corporate legal practitioner may appear as a solicitor on the record in any legal proceedings to which the practitioner’s employer is a party.
A legal practitioner may engage in legal practice as a volunteer at a community legal centre on any “type” of practising certificate. For example, if you hold a corporate practising certificate, you may nonetheless engage in legal practice as a volunteer at a community legal centre.
If you wish to provide pro-bono legal services to a person or body other than a community legal centre, you may do so if you hold a corporate practising certificate and are covered by professional indemnity insurance on terms and conditions approved by the Board. For more information on approved insurance policies please contact the National Pro Bono Resource Centre or Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee.
Corporate practitioners are not authorised to receive trust money.