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Government Lawyers and Supervised Legal Practice under the Uniform Law
This fact sheet identifies the key points for government lawyer in relation to supervised legal practice under the Legal Profession Uniform Law.
The requirement for lawyers to complete a period of supervised legal practice (SLP), as it relates to government lawyers, will vary slightly under the Uniform Law.
Lawyers must complete a period of SLP before they can hold an unrestricted practising certificate – a certificate which entitles them to engage in legal practice unsupervised.
The requisite period of SLP will depend on how a lawyer qualifies for admission:
- lawyers who complete articles or a similar supervised workplace training program must complete 18 months of SLP;
- lawyers who complete other practical legal training, for example, a graduate diploma of legal practice, must complete 2 years of SLP.
A lawyer who has completed the requisite period of SLP may request removal of the condition. Lawyers who have not held a certificate, or who have not been supervised for the requisite period, cannot make a removal application. Such lawyers, however, may be entitled to apply for an exemption from the condition.
An exemption application must include a statutory declaration and supporting documentation. A partial exemption may be granted when an application covers less than the requisite period of practice.
Legal Profession Act Exemption
An applicant for full or partial exemption must submit a statutory declaration and supervisor letter(s) evidencing a period of SLP.
Uniform Law Exemption
All legal practice (whether supervised or not) will count towards the requisite period if it is undertaken:
- before the Uniform Law commences; and
- in the course of employment with the Crown or a public authority, or in the performance of duties under a Governor in Council appointment.
An applicant for full or partial exemption under the Uniform Law must:
- with regard to government practice, submit a statutory declaration and employer letter(s) evidencing a period of legal practice; and
- with regard to any other legal practice, submit a statutory declaration and supervisor letter(s) evidencing a period of SLP.
- applicants may rely on any period of practice, including their most recent. It is not necessary to refer to the period when the applicant first commenced practice;
- applying for an exemption from, or the removal of, the SLP condition is a ‘one-off’ process. Once the exemption or removal is granted, the condition will not be re-applied to a certificate.