Australia - Victoria International Trade in Legal Services

Australia - Victoria International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

Legal Profession Act 2004

Under what title do lawyers practise?

Barrister, Solicitor, Legal Practitioner, lawyer.

How does an individual lawyer obtain a "licence" to practise law? How often must this be renewed?

See information for Australia

Does this entitle the holder to practise throughout the country? If the law license only permits one to practice on a sub-national level, please explain the jurisdictional limits

See information for Australia

 

 

Are there certain activities that are "reserved" to those who are licensed to practise law in the jurisdiction?

Appearing in court or advising on the law of Victoria.

Do you need to hold local nationality to be eligible to practise law?

No

What legal forms can lawyers work in? (e.g. self employment, partnership, limited liability partnership, multi-disciplinary partnership, incorporation)

Sole practitioner, partnerships, incorporated legal practices, multi-disciplinary partnerships

What other ethical or regulatory requirements must a licensed lawyer comply with? 

Law Institute of Victoria Professional Conduct and Practice Rules 2005:
http://www.liv.asn.au/PDF/Practising/Professional-Standards/Acts/2005ConductRules
 

Do law firms need to receive a "license" (or permission/approval) to practice law?

The Legal Services Board of Victoria must be informed of your intention to practise law.

Which authority issues licences? Are there different authorities for individuals and firms? 

The Legal Services Board of Victoria:
http://www.lsb.vic.gov.au/
   

INDIVIDUAL FOREIGN LAWYERS

Are there any explicit rules or restrictions other than visas on fly in fly out practice of law? Ie. Do you need to obtain a licence for temporary practice?

 See information for Australia

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a visa to visit clients or to market but not to practice?

See information for Australia

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a licence to establish and practise as a foreign legal consultant and what is the scope of this limited licence?

A foreign lawyer can obtain a limited licence entitling them to offer advisory services in foreign and international law (ie become a foreign legal consultant).
The relevant legislation is the Legal Profession Act 2004 – Part 2.8 and the Legal Profession Regulation 2005 –

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled once a foreign lawyer has been granted a limited licence (e.g. residency requirement)

Once a licence has been granted, there are ongoing requirements: the licence holder must not practise as a principal, must not hold a practising certificate in any other state or territory, must notify the Law Society as soon as practicable every time practice details change and must notify the Law Society within 7 days if they are charged with a serious offence.

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled for a foreign lawyer to qualify for a limited licence? (e.g. prior practice)

The requirements that must be met to qualify for a limited licence are set out in sections Part 2.6 of the Legal Profession Act

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation? Yes
Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances? Legislation prohibits an Australian-registered foreign lawyer from appearing in any court (except on his or her own)
Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers? Yes - information for Australia

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

Can a foreign law firm obtain a licence to open an office?

Foreign firms are permitted to establish a commercial presence (a permanent office) to offer advisory services in foreign and international law

Even if a foreign law firm does not require a legal licence must they register in some form in order to set up an office? (e.g. with a ministry of company affairs etc)

See information for Australia

Are there different types of foreign law firm 'licence'  (e.g. Joint Law Venture, stand alone foreign licence etc) No
Is there a quota on the number of licences available? No
Are there geographical restrictions on foreign firm licences or on the number of branches a foreign firm can have? No
Are there "scope of practice" rules that apply directly to foreign law firms (as opposed to lawyers themselves)? (e.g. home, host, international law), if so, what are they?

Foreign firms may offer advisory services in foreign and international law.

Are there restrictions on the corporate form a foreign law firm can take? Not applicable
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? There are specific rules in relation to use of names by lawyers or law firms. These rules are found in section 2.8.9 of the Legal Profession Act 2004 (VIC). Foreign lawyers and firms are treated differently from local lawyers in the application of the rules in that there is a specific regime for use of names and advertising 'for Australian-registered' foreign lawyers.
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL There are specific rules in relation to use of names by lawyers or law firms. These rules are found in section 2.8.9 of the Legal Profession Act 2004 (VIC). Foreign lawyers and firms are treated differently from local lawyers in the application of the rules in that there is a specific regime for use of names and advertising 'for Australian-registered' foreign lawyers.
   

EMPLOYMENT AND PARTNERSHIP

Are there restrictions on the ownership share of foreign lawyers in a law firm? There is no explicit foreign law firm licensing regime which regulates these arrangements.
May a domestic lawyer be employed by a foreign lawyer or law firm? See information for Australia
Can a domestic lawyer enter into partnership with a foreign lawyer? Yes
Can a domestic lawyer or domestic law firm employ a foreign lawyer? Yes
   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links

 Law Institute of Victoria: http://www.liv.asn.au/
The Victorian Bar: http://www.vicbar.com.au/

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Law Council of Australia (November 2013)   www.lawcouncil.asn.au