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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.