Professional Standards Scheme

The Victorian Bar Professional Standards Scheme (the Scheme) is a scheme under the Professional Standards Act 2003 (Vic) (the Act). The current Scheme commenced on 1 July 2019.

Victorian Bar Professional Standards Scheme (1 July 2019 to 30 June 2024, with an extension granted by the Attorney-General to 30 June 2025)

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 (the Act), 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 Scheme 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 Scheme.

Members wishing to participate in the Scheme are asked to download and complete an Scheme 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 Scheme.

If a Victorian barrister is participating in the Scheme, their 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.

More information about the Scheme is available below:


Apply here to participate in the Scheme:

Scheme Application Form


Discretionary higher caps

The Act confers on the Bar a discretionary authority to grant higher caps upon application by Scheme members.  


Scheme participants may apply for an exemption from the Bar's Scheme by making an exemption application.