Steps to Practising Law

In order to practise as a lawyer in Australia, a candidate has to be admitted to practice by the Supreme Court of an Australian state or territory, and then obtain a practising certificate, generally issued by the local legal professional body.

Admission and Practising in Victoria

For JD students

The Melbourne JD leads to admission to the legal profession in all Australian jurisdictions. The Melbourne JD is accredited by the Council of Legal Education (Victorian Legal Admissions Board) and satisfies the academic requirement for admission to the legal profession in Victoria. The diagram below shows the steps to practising law in Victoria.

Steps to Practicing Law - Step 1: Undergraduate Qualification - Step 2: The Melbourne JD - Step 3: Supervised Workplace Training or Practical Legal Training - Step 4: Admission to Legal Practice - Step 5: Practising Certificate

For current practitioners with foreign qualifications

If you currently hold an academic qualification in Law (LLB or equivalent) from a foreign institution, or if you have been admitted to practice as a legal practitioner in a jurisdiction outside Australia, you may be eligible to apply for admission in Victoria. You will be required to have your foreign qualification assessed by the Victorian Legal Admission Board.

More information:

Even if you practise in jurisdictions other than Australia - the Board may require that you undertake some subjects prior to practising in Australia. For more information view our page on Single subjects for non-Australian practitioners.

Single subjects for non-Australian practitioners

Admission and Practising Interstate

If you wish to gain admission to practice in another Australian state or territory, please refer to the relevant admitting body in the state or territory as admission requirements and processes are complex and varied. Upon admission, you are also eligible for admission in other states or territories, either directly or under the Mutual Recognition Scheme.

Admission and Practising Internationally

The Melbourne JD can be used as a basis for seeking admission in many law jurisdictions overseas. Each jurisdiction has separate admission boards with varying requirements for law practitioners. Below is a list of professional bodies in the most popular international destinations for Melbourne Law School graduates.

  • Canada

    Nine of the 10 provinces in Canada are common law jurisdictions, while the Province of Quebec is a civil law jurisdiction. Foreign lawyers may register in any of the 10 provinces as a foreign legal consultant (FLC). Australian lawyers wishing to practise Canadian Law must apply to the National Committee on Accreditation (or Barreau du Québec's Equivalences Committee for practising in Québec) for an evaluation of their legal credentials. They must then determine the province in which they wish to practise law and meet additional requirements established by that province.

    Legal professional representative bodies:

  • China

    PR China is a civil law jurisdiction. Generally, foreign nationals cannot be admitted to practice in China and foreign law firms may not practise Chinese Law. However, Australian lawyers may work in China for foreign law firms and perform legal services that do not involve the interpretation of Chinese Law.

    Legal professional representative body: All China Lawyers Association

  • Hong Kong

    In Hong Kong, a foreign lawyer can obtain a limited licence entitling them to offer advisory services in foreign and international law. Lawyers who have been admitted in Australia with at least two years of post-admission experience in their home jurisdiction with good standing are eligible to sit the Overseas Lawyers Qualification Examination, which can lead to admission as an overseas lawyer in Hong Kong.

    Legal professional representative bodies:

  • Indonesia

    A foreign lawyer can obtain a licence entitling them to offer advisory services in Indonesia, but he/she must be sponsored and employed by a local law firm (ie partnership). A foreign lawyer cannot obtain a full licence to practise law in Indonesia. Lawyers must be Indonesian citizens and reside in Indonesia.

    Legal professional representative body: Perhimpunan Advokat Indonesia - PERADI (Indonesian Advocates Association)

  • Malaysia

    Malaysia is geographically segregated into two parts: West Malaysia (also known as Peninsular Malaysia) and East Malaysia (known as Sabah and Sarawak). A person who is qualified to gain admission as a barrister or solicitor in Australia (in the state in which the university is situated), and having passed the requisite subjects prescribed by the respective Barristers/Solicitors Board or its equivalent, is a 'qualified person' to apply for admission. However, one must be a federal citizen or permanent resident of Malaysia in order to be admitted. Lawyers admitted to practice in Peninsular Malaysia do not have automatic right to practise in Sabah and Sarawak. An application for an ad hoc admission licence must be made to the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak.

    Legal professional representative bodies:

  • New Zealand

    It is not possible in New Zealand to be admitted only as a barrister or only as a solicitor. You will be admitted as both, but will hold a practising certificate either as a barrister or as a barrister and solicitor. The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997 (TTMRA) allows Australian-qualified solicitors and barristers to apply for automatic admission in New Zealand by following a two-step process – Admission by the High Court of New Zealand and Application for practising certificate.

    Legal professional representative body: High Court of New Zealand (via New Zealand Law Society)

  • Singapore

    There are no citizenship restrictions on foreign legal consultants in Singapore. A foreign lawyer can obtain a limited licence to offer advisory services in foreign and international law by either a foreign or local practice. A foreign lawyer can obtain a full licence to practise law in Singapore and will be subject to the same requirements as a local applicant. Foreign lawyers with two or more years of experience may seek admission to practise law in Singapore by sitting for and passing the Singapore Bar examination. Exemptions apply.

    Legal professional representative bodies:

  • Thailand

    Foreign nationals are prohibited from practising as foreign lawyers in Thailand and are not permitted to provide legal advice. Lawyers who are not Thai citizens may work for foreign law firms as 'business consultants'.

    Legal professional representative bodies:

  • Vietnam

    Foreign Lawyers can practise in Vietnam by submitting a written account of request for a Practising License in Vietnam to Ministry of Justice. They must be qualified in a foreign jurisdiction and either demonstrated that they belong to a foreign lawyers, organisation designated to practise the legal profession in Vietnam or be employed by a Vietnam-based foreign law firm. Foreign lawyers may advise on Vietnamese law if they also hold a Vietnamese law degree and meet all requirements set for a Vietnamese lawyer. A foreign lawyer may seek full admission.

    Legal professional representative body: Vietnam Ministry of Justice

  • United Kingdom (England and Wales)

    There is no requirement for a foreign lawyer to obtain a licence to practise as a foreign legal consultant. The Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) allows those who are already qualified lawyers in other jurisdictions to qualify as solicitors of England and Wales without having to complete the full education and training requirements. A foreign lawyer must be a 'Qualified Foreign Lawyer' (QFL) and complete the Bar Transfer Test to quality for admission as a Barrister in England and Wales.

    Legal professional representative body:

  • United States of America

    In order to practise law in the United States, all lawyers – foreign or domestic – must be admitted to the bar association of the state in which they wish to practise. Each US state has its own requirements for bar admission. The US does not have a mutual recognition scheme providing recognition of legal qualifications in one jurisdiction on the basis of qualification in another. Lawyers who wish to be admitted as a lawyer in a US jurisdiction should contact the regulatory body of that jurisdiction.

    Legal professional representative body: American Bar Association (ABA)

Supporting Documentation

Graduates of the LLB, JD or Melbourne Law Masters may be required to provide supporting documentation for admission to practice or application for further study.