Professional Standards Scheme


The Victorian Bar Professional Standards Scheme (the VBPSS) is a scheme under the Professional Standards Act 2003 (Vic) (the Act). The current VBPSS commenced on 1 July 2014.

Operating under a Professional Standards Scheme binds the Victorian Bar to monitoring, enforcing and improving the professional standards of its members, and protecting consumers of the professional services performed by its members. Consistent with the Professional Standards Act 2003, this includes:

  • developing and implementing risk management strategies and initiatives;
  • protecting consumers of the legal services offered by our members through strengthening and expanding professionalism throughout the Bar, including through the maintenance of a comprehensive education and compliance program; and
  • maintaining strong discipline and complaints systems.  

Members who participate in the VBPSS have the opportunity to have the protection of a cap on occupational liability of $2 million. The Act defines occupational liability as “civil liability arising (in tort, contract or otherwise) directly or vicariously from anything done or omitted to be done by a member of an occupational association acting in the performance of his or her occupation”. Section 5 of the Act lists the types of occupational liability not covered by the VBPSS.

Members wishing to participate in the Scheme are asked to download and complete an Application Form (see below). An application to participate is subject to the approval of Bar Council. Only barristers who hold a current Victorian practising certificate who are members of the Victorian Bar shall be eligible to participate in the VBPSS.

If a Victorian barrister is participating in the VBPSS, his or her profile must state “Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards legislation.” A register of Victorian Bar members to whom the scheme applies is also maintained by the Bar. The Professional Standards Councils have prepared a disclosure factsheet outlining the statutory obligations that participating members have regarding disclosure of limited liability.

Other important documents associated with the current VBPSS are shown below:

Current VBPSS (1 July 2014 to 30 June 2019)

VBPSS Application Form

Notification of third Professional Standards Scheme of the Victorian Bar

The Victorian Bar’s current VBPSS will expire on 30 June 2019. Earlier this year, the Victorian Bar applied to the Professional Standards Councils for its third Professional Standards Scheme (“third draft Scheme”), to operate from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2024.  

The Professional Standards Councils has approved the third draft Scheme for public notification. It will be published on the website of the Professional Standards Councils together with the public consultation document. Notification was published in The Australian on 14 December 2018. The third draft scheme and public consultation document can be viewed below for the information of members and the public.

Public Consultation Document

Third Draft Scheme (1 July 2019 to 30 June 2024)

Members and the public are directed to forward any comments or submissions regarding the third draft scheme to the Chief Executive Officer, Professional Standards Councils by 11 January 2019.  The Professional Standards Councils is located at Level 2, St James Centre, 111 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000. The email address is pscinfo@psc.gov.au and the telephone number is 1300 555 772 / (02) 8315 0800. The Professional Standards Councils has advised that comments and submissions received will be public, unless confidentiality is specifically requested.