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

The Board must be satisfied that any applicant for admission to the legal profession has sufficient knowledge of written and spoken English to engage in legal practice in Australia.  The English Language Proficiency Guidelines establish six new pathways illustrating how you can satisfy the Board of your English language proficiency.

There are two recognised tests for English language proficiency, IELTS and TOEFL iBT. All applicants for admission to the legal profession are required to have completed at least the last two years of their secondary and the entirety of their academic qualification in English, in a recognised country or otherwise undertaken one of the two recognised tests.

Carefully read The Guidelines prior to commencing your application and nominate one pathway that best reflects your circumstances.

You may obtain further information about IELTS Academic Module and TOEFL iBT below.

IELTS

Email:  ielts@idp.com (External link)

https://ielts.com.au/ (External link)

 

TOEFL iBT

Customer Support Center
1800 919 622
 

Email: TOEFLSupport4Australia@ets.org (External link)

https://www.ets.org/toefl/ (External link)

 

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.

For all persons with overseas inquiries please see our contacts page (External link) for details.

Fees

Section 72A of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 provides for the Victorian Legal Admissions Board to charge a fee for undertaking an assessment of foreign qualifications and training.

The following categories of applications are eligible to have qualifications assessed to determine the requirements for applicants to be eligible for admission to practise in Victoria.

  1. Foreign Lawyers who are admitted and eligible to practice as a legal practitioner in a jurisdiction outside Australia
  2. Application for review of decision of previous assessment will require the assessment to be set aside and a new assessment to be completed

For all categories, fees are set at $450 per application. 

Payment can be made by contacting the Board on 9604 2416 once an application has been made online using the portal.

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 Home Affairs. However, The Department of Home Affairs has advised the Board that it treats determinations made by the Board as "skills assessments" for the purpose of migration applications.

The Department of Home Affairs has further advised the Board that an Admissions Order 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 Home Affairs is also satisfied that your skills meet the requirements for a migration application.