Review of Lawyers’ Practising Certificate Fees
The Victorian Legal Services Board is responsible for granting and renewing lawyers’ practising certificates, which are accompanied by appropriate fees prescribed by government regulation. With the existing regulations expiring, the Board is required to recommend new practising certificate fees for the 2018-19 financial year and beyond.
The Board has been engaged in an extensive process of consultation with the legal profession for over 12 months regarding various options for setting new fees. This consultation has included a detailed Discussion Paper, a formal Stakeholder Forum, and meetings with professional associations and other entities from the legal profession.
This process has generated significant feedback and multiple written submissions that have informed the Board’s Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS), which includes the preferred option for setting new fees.
Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS)
On 24 October 2017, the Attorney-General, the Hon Martin Pakula MP, released the RIS for formal public consultation. The RIS is a consultation document that sets out a number of options for setting new fees and includes a preferred option in accordance with government policy principles.
The preferred option detailed in the RIS is a stratified fee structure, where fees are differentiated based on practising certificate classes. This is a simple and efficient approach where fees align with the level of risk and regulatory oversight incurred by a practising certificate class. Under this proposal, practitioner classes that create lower levels of regulatory burden will receive fee reductions, while those classes that carry a greater share of regulatory demands will see modest fee increases.
The Board engaged an independent consultant, Rivers Economic Consulting, to undertake activity-based costing of the Board and Commissioner’s regulatory functions. The results of this analysis have shaped the development of the RIS and the options, including the preferred option. A copy of the independent report has been published as an accompanying document to the RIS.
The RIS has been independently assessed by the Office of the Commissioner for Better Regulation (OCBR) as being adequate for the purposes of public consultation. The Board and Commissioner have published a copy of OCBR’s letter.
The RIS, independent report and OCBR’s assessment letter can be viewed here:
- Report: Regulatory Impact Statement – Practising Certificate Fees (955KB PDF)
- Letter: OCBR Assessment Letter PC Fees RIS (247KB PDF)
- Report: Rivers Economic Consulting Cost and Fee Option Review (1.67KB PDF)
Feedback and Submissions
The Board acknowledges the many stakeholders that have provided submissions throughout the review process. A broad array of representations have been made to date, reflecting multiple views from across the sector.
The Attorney-General released the RIS for public consultation on 25 October 2017. The Board and Commissioner again invited feedback from the legal profession and the community about the impact of changes to practising certificate fees, specifically in regards to the Board’s preferred option.
The deadline for submissions closed on 30 November 2017. The Board and Commissioner are now considering the submissions received and will publish further information after this process is complete.
For more information about the PC Fees Review or the RIS please email email@example.com
Submissions to the January 2017 discussion paper
In January 2017 the Board published a discussion paper (113KB PDF) outlining potential options for setting fees. This discussion paper was sent to all registered lawyers via RPA News email bulletin #31 issued in January 2017.
All written comments and submissions to the discussion paper were considered by the Board in the development of the RIS. These are published below.
- Submission – Association of Corporate Council Australia (254KB PDF)
- Submission – Association of Corporate Council Australia – supplementary (423KB PDF)
- Submission – Federation of Community Legal Centres (105KB PDF)
- Submission – Law Institute of Victoria (4.5MB PDF)
- Submission – Telstra (211K PDF)
- Submission – Victoria Legal Aid (360KB PDF)
- Submission – Victorian Bar (496KB PDF)