Unincorporated legal practices - Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner

Unincorporated legal practices

A unincorporated legal practice (ULP) is an unincorporated body or group that is:

(i) a partnership; or

(ii) an unincorporated body or group, or an unincorporated body or group of a kind, approved by the Legal Services Council under s.114 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria) or specified in the Legal Profession Uniform Rules;

that has given notice under s.104 of the Uniform Law that it intends to engage in legal practice in Australia, and the legal services it provides or proposes to provide are not limited to either or both:

(i) in-house legal services for the unincorporated body or group;

(ii) services that are not legally required to be provided by an Australian legal practitioner and that are provided by an officer or employee who is not an Australian legal practitioner;

and it is not excluded by the Uniform Rules from being an unincorporated legal practice, but does not include—

(a) a law firm; or

(b) a community legal service; or

(c) an incorporated legal practice.

General requirements ULPs

Under Part 3.7 of the Uniform Law, ULPs have many of the same general requirements as incorporated legal practices, including in relation to notice, insurance and trust account requirements.

Notification of intention to engage in legal practice

Before it commences engaging in legal practice in Victoria, a ULP must give written notice to the Victorian Legal Services Board in the approved form at least 14 days before starting to engage in legal practice. A ULP may not hold itself out as entitled to engage in legal practice in Victoria before it has given the appropriate notification.

Download the Notice of intention to start providing legal services (104KB PDF).

A ULP must also give the Board written notice in the approved form within 14 days after it ceases to engage in legal practice.

The Uniform Law imposes civil pecuniary penalties upon UPLs that fail to comply with these requirements.

Professional indemnity insurance

ULPs are not required by the Uniform Law to maintain an approved insurance policy for the practice itself, however, each Australian legal practitioner employed or otherwise associated with the ULP must be covered by an approved insurance policy for this jurisdiction and the policy must cover that legal practice.

Trust Accounts

As with all law practices, a ULP that receives trust money must maintain a general trust account in Victoria in accordance with the Uniform Law, its regulations and any applicable rules.

For further information see Trust money and Trust accounts.

Structuring your law practice

The Board does not provide legal or professional advice in relation to structuring your law practice.

Last modified February 17, 2016.