- The Legal Profession Uniform Law does not contain an exemption equivalent to that provided under the repealed Legal Profession Act 2004.
- There are, however, categories of persons exempt from the Uniform Law requirements for a practising certificate.
- Lawyers who will be required to hold a practising certificate may, in the interim, and for a specified period of time, rely on the transitional exemption in Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Regulation 2015.
Now that the Legal Profession Act 2004 (the LPA) has been repealed, what does this mean for government and corporate lawyers who were previously exempt from the requirement to hold a practising certificate pursuant to s 14(3) of the LPA?
Section 14 of the LPA provided:
‘14 (1) A person must not engage in legal practice in this jurisdiction unless the person is an Australian legal practitioner’.
However, s 14(3) contained an exemption as follows:
‘Subsection (1) does not apply to:
(a) a person who as an employee provides legal services to his or her employer or a related entity if he or she:
(i) so acts in the ordinary course of his or her employment, and
(ii) receives no fee gain or reward for so acting other than his or her ordinary remuneration as an employee.’
A corporate or government lawyer, provided he or she continued to meet the definition above, could rely on the exemption from the requirement to hold a practising certificate in respect of their work as such a lawyer.
The Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) (the Uniform Law) commenced on 1 July 2015 repealing the LPA 2004. The Uniform Law does not contain an equivalent exemption.