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What is an external examiner?

An external examiner (EE) is a person who is qualified to be appointed to examine the trust records of a law practice or approved barristers’ clerk.

Who can be an EE?

The criteria that a person must meet before they may qualify to be appointed as an EE are specified in sections 155 – 156 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria) and Rule 65 of the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015. An EE must complete the Legal Services Council approved External Examiners trust course conducted by the Law Institute of Victoria or NSW Law Society as part of these qualification requirements, and be a member of an approved accounting body.

Appointing an EE

If a law practice or barristers’ clerk holds a trust account, they must appoint an EE to examine the records of that trust account annually. The appointment gives the EE statutory powers to examine their trust records and report those findings to us.

A law practice or barristers’ clerk must notify the Board of the appointment of their EE using the notification of appointment of External Examiner form within a month of receiving trust money (other than transit money).

Please note that it is the responsibility of the law practice or barristers’ clerk, not the EE, to lodge the appointment form with the Board.

A register of EEs qualified to examine the records of a law practice or barristers’ clerk is available and is updated monthly.

Termination or changing of an EE

A law practice or barristers clerk can terminate the appointment of an EE at any time with their consent or our prior approval. We may give approval if satisfied that it is reasonable in the circumstances for the practice or clerk to terminate the appointment. We may require the law practice or approved clerk to supply satisfactory evidence as to those circumstances, for example there are no outstanding fees to the EE. A law practice or barristers’ clerk must notify the Board of the termination of an EE within 7 days of the termination using the Request for approval of termination of External Examiner form.

An EE can terminate an appointment with the law practice or approved barristers’ clerk at any time by notifying that entity and us.

Annual Trust Examination reporting

All parts of the annual trust examination reporting is conducted via LSB Online. Parts A and B are completed by the law practice. The External Examiner can then submit their report. If you are having any difficulties in submitting any part of the annual reporting, please contact trustgroup@lsbc.vic.gov.au.

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