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 2019.

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 2019 to 30 June 2024)

VBPSS Application Form