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Discussion Starter #1
Dear everyone,

Sorry I am so new to this so you will have to bear with me. I have recently qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales and I am currently practicing in at a firm in south England specialising in Family Law.

About 4 years ago I had my qualifications assesed by the NSW Legal Admissions Board and they assessed me in which I needed to take constitional law, ethics and property. They also wanted me to complete the Practical Legal Training Course. This conditional offer was open to me for two years.

However, in 2007 I managed to secure a training contact in the UK and completed my training contract in September 2009. I have recently qualified as mentioned above and have been practicing for about 4 months now!!

I am a little confused about re-applying to get my qualifications assessed again as my friend (who is not a solicitor) said that I should try and get into perth, western australia. I have looked on WA's legal admissions website and I have to lodge Form 8 and Form 9 to get my qualications assessed in Western Australia.

However, their website says that all qualified UK solicitors have to complete the Practicial Legal Training Course. Is this the case? There is also a fee of around $400 to get my qualifications assessed. I do not want to pay this fee if they come back and tell me that I have to undertake the Practial Legal Training Course as I am sure you do not have to take this course in somewhere like NSW once you have been admitted to practice in the UK.

Also what would be the easiest state to get admitted into once obviously I have taken the various courses I need to?

Is it easy to find a job as a solicitor in Australia and if so where do u start?

Thank you every so much for anyone's help on this matter

James :)
 

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solicitor in oz

Hi James

I too am a 1 year qualified family law solicitor in the north east of England and am looking to start the skilled visa application to emigrate to Australia.

I have no idea about the answer to your question as I have just started the research process but i am interested to know whether you have applied for your visa at the same time as having your qualifications assessed? or do you do one first then the other?!

Also, are you planning on securing a job offer before you make the plunge or will you just find a job when you get there?

Any information you have wold be a great help!

Thanks.
 

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Hi Stacey,

Thanks for replying!! From what I can gather it is best to get your qualifications assessed first from the Legal practioners Board from whatever state you are applying to. You will then be told what courses u need to take. Once you have passed the exams then and I am not sure I would apply for the visa then.

I am probably going to go out there without a job and then have a look around once i am there. I would even consider being a fisherman if it pid the bills!!

Cheers James
 

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Hi both,

I am a UK qualified solicitor and I am in Sydney undergoing the process at the moment. I am also a family lawyer :)

The procedure for NSW is as James says apply to the LPAB for an assessment of academic qualifications and practical experience. They are $200 each to make. I had mine assessed in 2009. Make sure you read the regulations very clearly and include as much information as you can. Include references, qualifications, information on where you studied etc etc. Make really good submissions on your experience.

I had to undertake constitutional, administrative, evidence, legal ethics, practice and procedure for the academic subjects.

For the practical side I got full exepmtions possible from the PLT having to only sit exams in trust and office accounting and professional responsibility. Essentially these are two modules on their PLT. It isn't possible to be exempted from these. I was admitted in September 2004 and I think that level of experience got me the most exemption from the practical side.

In terms of the academic subjects I have now learned that I would have got an exemption from administrative as well. This was just ruled for UK lawyers at the end of last year (as was property in mid 2009). You get this exemption if you have studied a full time administrative law (I did it joint with constitutional but the guidelines say 6 months full time and of course if you do it joint you do it for a year so I think I would have got exempted).

I don't know how they chose evidence & practice and procedure when I am a family/civil litigation lawyer but there you go.

How you are assessed depends on what subjects you did as part of your undergrad degree.

In terms of ethics you will notice that you have to do it twice, once as an academic subject and then again as professional responsibility as part of the practical training. This is right. this is what NSW lawyers have to do. However, on top of the application for academic and practical exemptions it is possible to make a discretionary application under s24 Legal profession Act to ask the Board to exercise their discretion in relation to a particular subject. (Only do this after you have appealled against the exemption applications decision) There is criteria they will take into consideration and that is often 7 years PQE and a whole host of other experience and if you have worked in NSW jurisdiction (it is under schedule 5 of the regulations if you want to look it up). I am applying on the basis of 6.5PQE & that I have sat and passed the PR subject already. I will update you on this bit once I have done mine.

The tricky thing once you have been assessed is how to study these additional subjects. There are two options. If you are here in Sydney you can study the individual subjects with the Board through their Diploma in Law. The practical subjects you can study with the College of Law. The College of Law subjects are online learning then you just attend for the exam. The board subjects are taught at night school from 6 - 9 on various days of the week so doeant interefere with work which is great. However, it is a tough slog. I work as Legal Counsel in-house and 9 hours a week on top of a full working week is tough. Then you spent the weekends reading, doing assignments etc. Anyway, we all know hard work ;-)

This is the cheapest option at $574 per subject. College of Law are $1100c each so for me the total is $5000c. I have spent another $1000 on books but you can sell these on to other students. Academic books are extortionate here. It will have taken 14 months to study. It is then another month for your admission application and another month till the admission ceremony which is compulsory attendance.

If you are not in Australia then it is possible to study the subjects as I understand it distance learning with University of New England, from the UK. This is 4 times the course fees at $2100c each subject.

You can also do the College of Law subjects with the College of Law in the UK and attend one of their site's to sit the exam. So you would be looking at at least $12500 to do it from the UK. UNE only study some subjects in some semesters so you would need to work that out.

If you can get a job before you come and then study it here then that is the cheapest option but if coming to Oz is the most important thing and you can't find a job then you can still do it.

You will have to travel to Oz to attend the admission ceremony. No getting around that.

Once you are admitted then as I understand it you can apply for entry as the profession is on the skills list. I havven't done any research on this as I am already here on a long term business visa so you'll need to research into that. I know that once I am admitted I am eligible to apply for permanent residence.

Here are some links;

Overseas Practitioners - Legal Profession Admission Bd : Lawlink NSW

Student-at-Law - Legal Profession Admission Bd : Lawlink NSW

Law Extension Committee

Part PLT Programs for Overseas Lawyers - College of Law

http://www.une.edu.au/imp/publications/Non-Award-2010.pdf

Hope that lot all hopes - it took me months to sort through everything and get to that lot!!

Thanks
Kelly
 

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I am looking to requalify in Australia and have found this thread about the most useful of all.

I am 6.5 years PQE (if you include my training contract - which I understand you do) and was wondering whether anyone has experience of requesting exemptions from academic subjects on the basis of the general discretion under section 5 of the uniform principles?

It says that various factors may be taken into account to determine whether you might get away without doing certain academic areas, including your length of practise (if more than 7 years), your level of specialism and the likelihood of continuing with that specialism. I assume they may take the view that if you have always done and always will do the same area of law, what is the point in forcing you to do irrelevant academic subjects?

Does anyone have any knowledge that could help me please?

Steven
 

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Hi,

I have just made an application under this discretion and it wasn't successful but they told me it was because I left it too late.

People do make applications under this discretion and they do get them in relation to some subjects.

However, you must make your application for academic and practical exemptions first. I am told also that you should appeal that decision but I hadn't and they still accepted it. You are asking them something different and you are right it is different criteria.

It is s24(4) of the Legal Profession Act 2004 and you are just asking the Board to exercise their discretion in giving you permission to not have to comply with s24(1)(a) and (b).

You make written submissions to the Board arguing in accordance with the schedule you already have schedule 5 to the regulations.

So make the practical and academic applications together. Once you have that decision then make the application under s24(4). Then you will know exactly what you have to do.

I was told that if I had made an application under s24(4) before I started my study I would have got more exemptions but because I had started they now wouldn't give them.

Also I am afraid to say that they disregarded my training contract time AND my in house experience in Australia saying in house didn't count. I definitely would have argued against that but my final exams are in 2 weeks and I just dont have the energy or any idea how to argue against a discretion. We all know that is an impossible task.

You definitely won't get exempted from Constitutional Law on the academic side or Professional Responsibility of trust and Office accounting on the practical side. So if you want to make a start on the road then do the Pr and accounting modules with the college of law (can do it in the UK if you are still there). If you really wanted as well you could do the constitutional law with UNE.

There appears to be no consistency in the decisions they make re the academic subjects but in terms of admin law make sure you argue that even if you did it joint with constitutional if you did it for one year then it amounts to 6 months admin study which is what the regulations call for. It should get you exempted from that. I have heard of people getting that and also getting out of contracts and some not. It is all down to your specific degree composition.

It takes a long time do to the applications but ultimately you will get admitted here in probably 18 months - 2 years. A lot quicker than when you started right at the beginning!!!!

It is compulsory to come to the admission ceremony so if you study from the UK, this will mean a trip to Oz.

As I understand it, once admitted you can apply for Permanent Residence so the slog is worth it.

Thanks
Kelly
 

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Hi Kelly

Thanks for your very detailed and useful email!

Just out of interest, do you have the full 7 years in addition to your training contract? Is this an essential element of the application for exemption?

Many thanks

Steven
 

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Hi Steve,

Nearly, I was admitted September 2004. But they only took my UK experience into consideration which was 5 years before I came here. I have a year for here too but they disregarded that.

Nothing is essential for the application, it is a discretion and they are the things they will have regard to, it won't be set in stone but they will use it as a reason to refuse as they did in my case. They said, not enough experience. Which makes me bork because I have 7 years from the UK and a year from here which is a million more times experience than a newly admitted Oz lawyer gets. They don't do a training contract they get admitted and then have two years supervised practice so the two years counts.

Anyway, if I were you I would wait till you have 7 year to submit the discretion application. If you are 6.5 years already do the academic and practical applications. By the time you have done that it will kill a month or so. Then get on with the PR and Accounting modules that will kill two months and you will be there.

I think from your perspective because you are in the UK will save you a lot in tuition fees so it is with the application for the sake of $50. I know people that it did reduce their number of subjects by one or two so it is worth it.

I am looking to become part of a committee that will assist overseas lawyers. If I get anywhere with that I will let it be known on here. The reason I am putting all this on is because it wasn't available when I started the process so I am trying to spread the word!!!

Thanks
Kelly
 

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Hi All,

I have come to this thread a little late but am hoping somebody may be able to help me ...

I am a graduate from the UK - I did a non-law undergraduate degree followed by the GDL and am now living in the Northern Territory on an employer sponsored visa.

I have had my qualifications assessed to be admitted in the Northern Territory by the NSW Legal Admission Board (NSW conduct the assessments for the NT). I have now been told I must complete 13 units which seems like a lot - the uniform principles suggest I would have to complete 6 units and therefore I will be appealing this decision.

It appears I can complete the units through the Legal Admission Board which will be a lot cheaper than doing it at my nearest University. The Board charges around $600 a unit whereas my nearest University charges $2,000 a unit. The only problem is that I live in Darwin and the Board's Diploma in Law course does not seem to be suitable for study by correspondence as it requires some weekend attendance (twice a semester).

Has anybody studied through the NSW Board from interstate? If so, did you fly in for the weekend lectures? I am just trying to work out if this is an option or if I am going to have to cough up the extra money and study locally ....

Thanks for any help or options that anybody can offer :)
 
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