A legal practicing certificate, in its simplest term, is getting a Principal certificate in Victoria, Australia, which gives an individual with a rightful law degree to start practicing professionally.
According to the law practicing legality in Victoria, if you get a law degree and acquire a job at your firm, you are not a practicing lawyer.
What Does ‘Principal’ Mean As A Legal Term?
Under the Uniform Law of Australia, the term ‘Principal’ is given to a person who is legally practicing law in the country. An employee practicing certificate doesn’t give any lawyer the entitlement to use the term ‘Principal.’
These are some of the criteria to make you understand why you need the Legal Practicing Certificate and who are the law practitioners individually, which could be called ‘Principal.’
- A solo practitioner who is not working under a firm.
- The supervising attorney of a community legal service.
- A partner in a corporate legal practicing firm.
Moreover, according to the definition which was said earlier, you will need a certificate of ‘Principal’ in the field of law.
Why Is The Certificate Needed
There is a concrete difference between the Uniform Law Of a Principal and a general employee in a law firm. With a title, a client is empowered to take the advanced legal advice they might need for a complicated case.
Therefore, it is important to get certified before using the tag of ‘Principal’ in your name while practicing law. Not only is it borderline illegal, but it is misleading and can have bad repercussions on your law firm and reputation.
People Who Are Eligible For This Certificate
Here are the different criteria and skills which you might need in order to get a Principle Legal Practicing Certificate in Victoria.
- You will need a certain skill set that is different from that of your grad school. These skill-sets include risk management & governance, strategic planning, and financial administration. These skills are important for a lawyer to take up any case and even run a law firm.
- You will need a sufficient degree from grad school and a certain amount of time spent under supervised legal practice conditions. A supervised legal practice condition is a minimum of 18 months, or it might even depend on your skill set and firm. Within these 18 months, a graduate is simply an employee in the law firm, and any case they take is supervised. Once they complete these criteria, only then are they allowed to apply for a Principal Legal Certificate.
How To Apply For This Certificate In Victoria
Here is a step-by-step guide to achieving a legal practicing certificate as a principal. Because even if you have completed your months under supervised practice and received enough recommendations from your seniors, you will still need the certificate to start practicing legally.
- You must prove to have the skill set to take a case falling under the legal matters of Victoria. The certificate will be granted to you against Grant A Principal Practicing Certificate Policy.
- Some ways you can show your skills to get approved are by completing an approved practice management course. However, peruse through the guidelines for such tests before you sit for one.
- If the goal for acquiring this legal practicing certificate in Victoria is for the purpose of opening a law firm, you will need at least one official business management degree.
- You can practice under supervision in a reputed law firm or a reputed solo attorney who is a veteran in the industry.
Things That Will Be Required In Order To Apply For A Certificate.
- A certified documentation of your past relevant experiences in the field.
- A police check to ensure you from any previous illegal activity or felony is very important when applying for a legal practicing certificate in Victoria. Do not worry about the procedure because with the right help; it will be easy. Go to the official website of police check vic, the one-step guide place to get all your police verification done with ease.
- A certificate of fitness by another principal under whose wing or firm you were working previously.
- Letters of recommendation from other veteran practicing professionals in the field.
Here Is How To Apply
Now, coming to the pioneer part of the subject matter, how can you fill-up the application?
- First, you have to go to LSB online and complete this assessment. This is applicable for first-time practitioners or practitioners who wish to review their principal certificates.
- Second, there is a fee attached to the application and fidelity fund. Although, the fidelity fund is optional.
- Third, you have to pay your professional indemnity insurance. Again it is not mandatory, only if your application says it.
- Now that you have submitted the application, you have to wait for approval. Once you are approved, you will receive an email.
- Even if this is a certificate renewal, then you can keep practicing even before the new certificate has been assessed and you have received the email.
Note: This is highly important to note that every lawyer needs to renew their license after a year. Every year the principal legal practicing certificate of Victoria expires on June 30th.
If you are submitting your application for renewal past 30 June, i.e., between June to September 30th, then a late fee will be charged against your application if you wish to renew them. Post-September 30, you can’t submit an application for renewal valid this year. That application will be valid post-30th June the following year.
Penalties You Should Remember
Even after such strict jurisdiction on the legality of this matter, there are many who are practicing law with the false ‘principal’ title. Here are some of the penalties you can be charged with if you are caught.
- The law might take immediate action to stop the use of that title from any practitioner. This will include any business cards, websites, or signed documents under this title.
- They Might even be suspended from applying for the certificate for a few years, stagnating them in the employee position.
- They will be asked to cease any current case they are working on.
Therefore, it is better before you start practicing, you acquire that legal practicing certificate in Victoria.