A growing number of lawyers are exploring job opportunities through labour hire arrangements. Both lawyers and labour hire agencies need to understand what is required of them.
Labour hire arrangements
A labour hire arrangement involves a law practice, government department or private company hiring a lawyer through a labour hire agency. In this setup, the agency acts as the direct employer, handling tasks like recruitment and payroll.
The labour hire agency then assigns the lawyer to the host employer’s workplace, where they perform specific roles or tasks. These arrangements offer a host employer flexibility in adapting to changing workloads while gaining access to skilled legal professionals.
Registration requirements for labour hire agencies
If a labour hire agency offers both labour hire arrangements and legal services, it must register with us as a law practice. Failing to register a law practice can result in serious consequences.
Labour hire agencies exclusively facilitating labour hire arrangements without offering legal services directly themselves do not need to register with us.
We advise all labour hire agencies to check with the Labour Hire Authority if any additional registration requirements apply to them.
Practising certificate type
When a lawyer is employed by a labour hire agency to work at a host employer, the type of practising certificate they need depends on the work undertaken at the host employer.
Here’s what’s needed in different situations:
- Lawyers working at private law practices need an employee practising certificate.
- Lawyers working for government agencies or departments need a government practising certificate.
- Lawyers providing in-house legal services for private companies or agencies need a corporate practising certificate.
Lawyers will need to update their practising certificate type with us (including paying any additional licensing fee) if they move between practising certificate types within the 12-month licensing period.
Principal practising certificate
If a lawyer employed by a labour hire agency is also undertaking work for private clients, friends, or family, they must establish their own law practice, obtain a principal practising certificate, and maintain their professional indemnity insurance.
Assigning a host employer
When applying for a practising certificate or updating personal details via LSB Online, lawyers should assign themselves to the host employer, not the labour hire agency.
If a lawyer does independent work outside the labour hire arrangement, they must be assigned with both their own law practice and the host employer they work for.
If the host employer isn’t registered with us, lawyers must initiate the registration process through our Lawyer Enquiry Form.
Notifying us when details change
Lawyers must promptly inform us of any changes to their employment details within 14 days. These changes must be submitted through LSB Online.
Lawyers subject to supervised legal practice must ensure appropriate supervision by another lawyer at the host employer. If no supervisor is available, a lawyer must arrange to be supervised remotely and submit a plan to us before commencing the role.
Employee legal practitioners are generally covered by the host law practice’s professional indemnity insurance, but it is important to check this before beginning in a role.
Corporate and government lawyers are not required to maintain professional indemnity insurance unless it is needed to cover volunteer work at a community legal service (CLS) or other pro bono work.