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Applying for a principal practising certificate

This page contains information about applying for a principal practising certificate (PPC)

You are required to hold a PPC if you are a lawyer:

  • Acting as a Principal of a law practice (incorporated or otherwise); or 
  • Practising as a sole practitioner (including as a contractor). 

To apply for a PPC you need to satisfy us that you have the necessary skills and experience to hold this certificate type. There are two ways you can do this:

  • complete an approved practice management course; or
  • submit an application form outlining your skills and experience. This application will be assessed against the Grant of a Principal Practising Certificate Policy, which details several ways you can show us you have the skills and experience needed to run a law practice.

Completing a Practice Management Course 

There are a number of practice management courses offered in Victoria or online.  Please check the course outline meets our Practice Management Course Guidelines before undertaking a course to ensure it meets our standards and expectations.

The VLSBC has approved the practice management course provided by the Law Institute of Victoria, Leo Cussen and the College of Law.

Prior experience 

Further ways you can demonstrate you have the required skills is where you may have:

  • managed a law practice in the past;
  • been a partner in a law firm in another Australian or common law jurisdiction; or  
  • completed formal studies in business management.

We will accept the following as evidence of your skills and experience:

  • a statutory declaration outlining your past relevant experience
  • a certificate of fitness or good standing from the legal regulator in the jurisdiction where you were a principal, and
  • letters from professional indemnity insurance providers, auditors or trust account examiners.

Application process

  1. If relevant, complete the Practice Management Course

  2. Complete the application form and submit this to us via our lawyer enquiry form
  3. If relevant, you can apply to set up your new law practice at the same time. (If you are a sole practitioner or are starting a new business you will need to set up your law practice with us concurrently).
  4. Once we have reviewed your application we will inform you via email if you meet the criteria to apply for a Principal practising certificate. If you have applied to set up a new law practice, these details will also be emailed to you
  5. You can then log into LSB Online and apply for a Principal practising certificate. You can do this via the ‘Apply for or vary my practising certificate’ form
  6. Depending on when you apply, and whether you have a current practising certificate of a different type, the fee will vary. This will be calculated in LSB Online for you
  7. When all your fees and insurances are paid we will assess your application, and if approved provide you with a Principal practising certificate

To apply for a principal practising certificate with trust you must meet additional requirements. Please read the information in ‘What do I need to do to apply for a Principal Practising Certificate’ as well as the below information.

To manage a trust account you must satisfy us that you have the skills, experience and competency to do this. There are two ways you can do this:

  • complete an approved trust account course; or
  • Use the lawyer enquiry form to provide us with information outlining your skills and experience. You can select ‘Practising certificate’ as the category and upload any supporting documents to the enquiry form. This application will be assessed against the Grant of trust authorisation policy, which details several ways you can show us you have the skills and experience needed to manage a trust account.

Completing a trust account course 

The Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) runs trust account courses in Victoria. Once completed, the LIV will send us a copy of your certificate. 

Prior experience 

Further ways you can demonstrate you have the required skills is where you may have:

  • within the last 5 years, completed a course of comparable length and subject matter approved in another jurisdiction of Australia to allow authorisation of receipt of trust money in that jurisdiction;
  • been a lawyer authorised to receive trust money in another common law jurisdiction of at least 2 years continuous duration within the last 5 years; 
  • been a lay associate of a law practice in Victoria with a recognised accounting qualification of degree level with some demonstrable experience in the operation of a law practice trust account of at least 2 years duration; or 
  • been a licensed conveyancer in Victoria with demonstrable experience in the operation of a trust account of at least 2 years continuous duration within the last 5 years.

We will accept the following as evidence of your skills and experience:

  • a statutory declaration outlining your past relevant experience
  • a certificate of fitness or good standing from the legal regulator in the jurisdiction where you were a principal/conveyancer
  • letters from professional indemnity insurance providers, auditors, trust account examiners and Principal Legal Practitioner where you were a lay associate
  • copies of your certificate where you have completed an approved trust accounting course in another jurisdiction or accounting qualification at degree level. 

Application process 

  1. If relevant, complete the Practice Management Course
  2. Either complete the trust account course or demonstrate you have the required skills to manage a trust account by submitting information to us via our lawyer enquiry form. Where you complete the approved trust account course we will be advised directly of your completion.
  3. Complete the Principal Practising Certificate application form and submit this to us via our lawyer enquiry form
  4. If relevant, you can apply to set up your new law practice at the same time. (If you are a sole practitioner or are starting a new business you will need to set up your law practice with us concurrently).
  5. Once we have reviewed your application we will inform you via email if you meet the criteria to apply for a Principal practising certificate with trust authorisation. If you have applied to set up a new law practice, these details will also be emailed to you
  6. You can then log into LSB Online and apply for a Principal practising certificate with trust authorisation. You can do this via the ‘Apply for or vary my practising certificate’ form
  7. Depending on when you apply, and whether you have a current practising certificate of a different type, the fee will vary. This will be calculated in LSB Online for you
  8. When all your fees and insurances are paid we will assess your application, and if approved provide you with a Principal practising certificate with trust authorisation.

Once you have been granted a PPC with trust you can open a trust account. See our ‘Trust account’ FAQs for details. Please be aware that Principals with trust are subject to Fidelity Fund contributions.

No. You must renew your practising certificate for the position you currently hold. When you are ready to start your new position as a principal you can then apply via LSB Online to vary your practising certificate to a principal PC. 

Generally no. However in some circumstances we may agree to a lawyer with a Supervised Legal Practice condition being supervised by a principal at the same law practice. Please use the lawyer enquiry form to discuss this with a member of our team. Select ‘Practising certificate’ from the category. 

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