Other disclosures to the Board - Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner

Other disclosures to the Board

This page provides information for current local legal practitioners – i.e. persons already holding an Australian practising certificate. For detailed information about applying for a practising certificate, see the Practising in Victoria section.

Matters you must disclose to the Victorian Legal Services Board

Change of information on the Register

The Victorian Legal Services Board is required to maintain a local legal profession register.

You should notify the Victorian Legal Services Board of any changes.

The details held by the Board for a local legal practitioner include:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Date of Admission
  • Address for service
  • Any conditions imposed on the practitioner’s practising certificate
  • For an employee of a law practice, the name of the law practice
  • For a sole practitioner, any business name under which the practitioner carries on business
  • An indication of whether a practitioner is a barrister.

Local lawyers should notify the Board of changes through LSB Online.

Locally registered foreign lawyers must notify the Board using the following form: Notification of change of information – Australian-registered foreign lawyer (89KB PDF).

When you apply for a practising certificate in Victoria, or within 14 days after moving to Victoria from another jurisdiction in which you practised, you must notify the Board if you reasonably intend that Victoria will be your principal place of practice.

Show cause events

If you apply for the grant of a certificate (including a practicing or registration certificate), you will also be required to disclose any ‘show cause events’ that have occurred in relation to you, after you were first admitted to the legal profession in Victoria or another Australian jurisdiction. There are two kinds of ‘show cause events’; automatic and designated.

Automatic show cause events include:

  • A bankruptcy related event; or
  • being found guilty of a serious offence; or
  • being convicted or found guilty of a tax offence; or
  • being subject to disciplinary proceedings as a lawyer in a foreign country.

Notice of such events is required to be given to the Victorian Legal Services Board within 7 days of their occurrence. A written statement is also required within 28 days to explain why you consider yourself to be a fit and proper person to hold a practising certificate, in spite of the show cause event.

A designated show cause event is when a notice is served on a practicing or registration certificate holder that alleges:

  • practice outside of the conditions of a practicing certificate; or
  • engaging in legal practice when not permitted by the Act; or
  • that the practitioner failed to hold indemnity insurance as required.

Where such notices are issued, they may require the certificate holder to provide a statement why the Victorian Legal Services Board should not vary, suspend or cancel the certificate.

A serious offence means an offence that is:

(a) an indictable offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory (whether or not the offence is or may be dealt with summarily); or

(b) an offence against a law of a foreign country that would be an indictable

offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory if committed in Australia (whether or not the offence could be dealt with summarily if committed in Australia);

Note that being found guilty of a tax or serious offence is a show cause event irrespective of whether:

  1. the offence was committed in or outside this jurisdiction; or
  2. the offence was committed while the person was engaging in legal practice as an Australian legal practitioner or was practising foreign law as an Australian-registered foreign lawyer; or
  3. other persons are prohibited from disclosing the identity of the offender.

What to do about a show cause event

If a show cause event occurs while you hold a practising certificate, you must provide notice to the Board within seven days of the event occurring. This must be done by completing the approved form:

Download the Notice of show cause event form (98KB PDF)

Please send the completed form to the Board for solicitors, or the Victorian Bar if you are a barrister.

You are also required, within 28 days after the event occurring, to provide a written statement explaining why, despite the show cause event, you still consider yourself to be a fit and proper person to hold a practising certificate.

The Board or its delegate may refuse to grant or renew, or may amend, suspend or cancel, a practising certificate or registration certificate where an applicant has failed to provide a show cause notice.

After a person supplies the notice, the Board or its delegate considers whether, notwithstanding the show cause event, the person is a fit and proper person to hold a practising certificate.

The Board or its delegate may refuse to grant or renew, or may amend, suspend or cancel, a local practising certificate, where it considers the person is not a fit and proper person to hold the certificate.

Amendment/variation, suspension or cancellation

The Board has power to amend, suspend or cancel practising certificates.

Requesting amendment or cancellation – varying or surrendering your practising certificate

You may request that the Board vary or cancel your practising certificate.

Applications to vary your practising certificate, to carry a different condition relating to practice (e.g. employee, corporate or principal) or to have authorisation to receive trust money, must be made  through LSB Online. Please note that, if you wish to be authorised to receive trust money, you must also complete the approved trust account course, offered by the Law Institute of Victoria. If your request to vary your practising certificate is refused, the Board will send you an information notice explaining why.

To surrender your practising certificate, please send the original certificate to the Board (for solicitors) or the Victorian Bar (for barristers) with a letter providing the date from which you wish the practising certificate to be cancelled.

Amendment, suspension or cancellation by the Board

Each of the following is a ground for amending, suspending or cancelling your practising certificate:

  • you failed to provide the required statement following a show cause event;
  • you failed to comply with a requirement of Chapter 7 made in connection with an investigation of the show cause event concerned or has committed an offence under that Chapter in connection with any such investigation;
  • the Board considers that you are no longer a fit and proper person;
  • you are not, or no longer, covered by an approved insurance policy;
  • you are engaging in legal practice that you are not entitled to engage in under the certificate (i.e. practising outside the conditions of the holder’s practising certificate).

In circumstances where the Board considers there are grounds to amend, suspend or cancel your practising certificate, it will issue a notice stating the proposed action, the grounds for the proposed action and the facts and circumstances that form the basis for the Board’s belief.

You will have a specified time to make written representations to the Board as to why the proposed action should not be taken and the Board will consider these representations before making its decision. However, where it is necessary in the public interest to immediately suspend a practising certificate, the Board may take this action with immediate effect. Persons subject to immediate suspension are entitled to provide written representations to the Board about the suspension. An immediate suspension will be in force until the earlier of the following:

  • the Board makes a formal determination in accordance with the usual amendment, suspension or cancellation procedure referred to above, or
  • the expiration of 56 days.

If your practising certificate is suspended, you will be unable to practice during that period.

The Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria) provides a right to apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for review of a Board decision to amend, suspend or cancel a practising certificate.

 

 

Last modified February 2, 2017.