Information for Foreign Lawyers

Information for foreign lawyers

If you are admitted and entitled to, or eligible to practise as a legal practitioner in a place outside Australia, you may apply to the Board for a direction under rule 11 of the Rules about the extent to which your existing qualifications are, or are not, sufficient for admission to the legal profession in Victoria.

Foreign Lawyers who are admitted and eligible to practise as a legal practitioner in a jurisdiction outside Australia may proceed to obtain a skills assessment from the Board. 

You can learn more about how the Board will assess your academic qualifications and practical legal training from the

Uniform Principles for Assessing the Qualifications of Overseas Applicants for Admission to the Australian Legal Profession (Uniform Principles)

Academic Qualifications

The Board will almost invariably direct a foreign lawyer to undertake further academic study in Australia before applying for admission. In many cases, lawyers will be required to undertake further studies in Australia in each of the areas mentioned in item 3 and Schedule 1 of the Uniform Principles. In almost all cases, lawyers will be required to study Federal and State Constitutional Law and Administrative Law. The additional academic studies commonly required of applicants from different countries are set out in Schedule 2 of the Uniform Principles.

Practical Legal Training

You must also have acquired and demonstrated an appropriate understanding of, and competence in, certain skills, practice areas and values required of all who apply for admission in Victoria. These Competency Standards for Entry-Level Lawyers are set out in Item 4 and Schedule 3 of the Uniform Principles.

English Language Proficiency

You must satisfy the Board that you have sufficient knowledge of written and spoken English to engage in legal practice in Australia.

To do this, you must comply with the English Language Proficiency requirement set out in the Uniform Principles. Unless you qualify for an exemption, you will be required to satisfy the Board that you have completed the IELTS academic module test of English language proficiency, obtaining minimum scores of 8.0 for writing, 7.5 for speaking and 7.0 for reading and listening within the two years before the date on which you apply for admission.

How to Make an Application

All applications for a direction about your academic qualifications and practical legal training must be made to the Board using the online client portal.  The Board will only accept a paper version in circumstances where you are unable to use the portal in the form of a statutory declaration.

Foreign Lawyer Information

For all persons with overseas enquiries or who wish to lodge an application for a skills assessment, an appointment must be made with the Board before attending our offices.  Please see our contacts page (External link) for details.

Fees

There is an application fee of $400 for foreign lawyers. Your fee must be paid by either contacting the Board to make a payment over the phone using Visa or Mastercard or an Australian or International bank cheque or money order (made out to The Victorian Legal Admissions Board).

Migration Matters

The Board has no powers relating to migration and cannot give advice on such matters. Such information can be obtained from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. However, The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has advised the Board that it treats determinations made by the Board as "skills assessments" for the purpose of migration applications.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection have further advised the Board that an Admissions Order to the Supreme Court of Victoria supersedes the requirement for a skills assessment. On the other hand, if the Board makes a determination about your qualifications this does not mean that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is also satisfied that your skills meet the requirements for a migration application.