Practising certificates for in-house lawyers
Corporate solicitors are Australian legal practitioners who engage in legal practice only in the capacity of in-house lawyers for their employer or a related entity. A corporate solicitor is therefore able to provide legal services to related entities of their employer without needing to obtain a principal practising certificate and register as a sole practice.
A related entity, in relation to a person, means:
- if the person is a company within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) – a related body corporate within the meaning of section 50 of the Corporations Act; or
- if the person is not a company within the meaning of the Corporations Act – a person specified or described in the Uniform Rules for the purposes of the definition.
The Board has provided advice to corporate solicitors on renewing their practising certificate and the implications of choosing either a ‘principal’ or ‘corporate’ practising certificate type. For further information, read the advice (228KB PDF).
Legal practice with a corporate practising certificate
A person whose practising certificate has a condition that only authorises practice as a corporate solicitor may only engage in practice as a ‘corporate solicitor’ and:
- as a volunteer at a community legal service, or otherwise on a pro bono basis; and
- until the PC is renewed, as a government legal practitioner. This will assist lawyers to move between corporate and government legal practice without having to immediately vary their PC.
Corporate solicitors are bound by the Legal Profession Uniform Law and the Uniform Law Rules.
Professional indemnity insurance
Corporate solicitors are exempted from the requirement to maintain professional indemnity insurance, however if you wish to provide pro bono legal services outside of a community legal service you must be covered by professional indemnity insurance on terms and conditions approved by the Board.
Pro bono work
A solicitor may engage in legal practice as a volunteer at a community legal service on any type of practising certificate. Therefore if you hold a corporate practising certificate, you may engage in legal practice as a volunteer at a community legal service.
If you wish to provide pro bono legal services to a person or body other than a community legal service, you may do so if you hold a corporate practising certificate and are covered by an approved insurance policy on terms and conditions approved by the Board. For more information on approved insurance policies please contact the National Pro Bono Resource Centre or the Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee.
Under the Uniform Law, corporate practising certificate holders are not authorised to receive trust money. As such you are not required to make fidelity fund contributions.