Practising Law in Victoria

Information for interstate and overseas practitioners regarding practising in Victoria, Australia and joining the Victorian Bar.

To practise law in Australia you must first gain admission as an Australian Lawyer. 

Practising Law in Australia

In Victoria, the process for admission to practise law is managed by the Victorian Legal Admissions Board (VLAB).

VLAB is a statutory body which performs functions associated with the admission of lawyers in Victoria in accordance with the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014. 

Any enquiries relating to your admission should be made to or you may refer to the FAQ section of VLAB's website to assist you with your enquiry. 

Practising Law in Australia

Australian lawyers wishing to practise law in Victoria
A practitioner holding a current practising certificate in any jurisdiction in Australia may practise in Victoria. They must also have an approved insurance policy that covers them (s 211, s 212 LPUL). See the Fact Sheet of the Legal Services Council regarding professional indemnity insurance here

Lawyers from overseas wishing to practise law in Victoria
If you are qualified and/or have been admitted* in a country other than Australia, the relevant information can be found here.

*In some countries this is referred to as 'being called to the Bar'. This often leads to confusion. In Australia, being approved to practise law is referred to as Admission. 'Coming to the Bar' means practising as a barrister before the courts, not as a solicitor in private practice.

Joining the Victorian Bar

Every Applicant or Transfer Applicant seeking to have their name entered on the Bar Roll in Division A Part I (Victorian Practising Counsel) must both Read and undertake the Readers' Course.

Australian lawyers admitted to practice in Australia are eligible to apply to join the Victorian Bar and practise as a barrister. The typical pathways to joining the Victorian Bar are:

As an Australian Lawyer who has not previously practised as a barrister
Applicants admitted to practise law in Australia are eligible to register to sit the Victorian Bar Entrance Examination. Exam candidates who pass the Entrance Exam will be offered a place in the Bar's Readers' Course. On satisfactory completion of the Readers' Course, you may be invited to apply sign the Roll of Counsel, Subject to Bar Council's approval.

A past member of the Victorian Bar wishing to rejoin
If in the past you have resigned from the Bar to practise other than as a barrister or to work in another area you may rejoin (subject to Bar Council approval) by completing an Application to Re-sign the Bar Roll.

A former member of the Victorian Bar included in Division A part I (Victorian Practising Counsel) of the Bar Roll who has practised as such for a period of not less than 12 continuous months (or longer) within the past 10 years of the application, is exempt from the Readers' Course and Reading Period (see the Application & Reading Regulations below). Please contact to request an Application to Re-sign the Bar Roll.

Interstate Barristers wishing to practise in Victoria
If you are a practising member of an interstate Bar Association and you wish to move your practice to Victoria as your principal place of practice, you may apply for the grant of a local barrister practising certificate. There is no formal requirement to join the Victorian Bar Association but you are encouraged to do so. A current certificate of good standing from your home jurisdiction is required. 

Members of an interstate Bar Association who have solely practised as a barrister for a period of not less than 12 continuous months, within 10 years of your application, is not required to Read or undertake the Readers' Course unless the Readers' Course Executive or the Readers' Couse Committee, in their discretion, requires the Applicant to Read or undertake the Readers' Course (or both).  See regulation 4(2) of the Application & Reading Regulations.

Overseas Barristers (wishing to practice law in Victoria) 
If you are an overseas barrister and you have been admitted as an Australian Lawyer [see FAQ: I am an overseas qualified lawyer and I want to practise law in Australia. What do I need to do?] you may seek an exemption from the traditional entry requirement (Exam, Read and/or undertake the Readers' Course) see regulation 4(2)(d) of the Application & Reading Regulations below.  If you wish to apply for exemption from the traditional entry requirements, please contact the Bar's Admissions Officer via

Interstate (and overseas) membership of Victorian Bar
If your principal place of practice is in another State or Territory and you are a member of an independent Bar Association, you may apply to join the Victorian Bar as an Interstate or Overseas member. If you are wish to become an Interstate or Overseas member please contact

Obtaining a practising certificate

Once you have satisfied the requirements of the Bar, you must obtain a practising certificate before you can commence practising as a barrister in Victoria.

Grant of a practising certificate as a barrister is subject to the statutory condition of having completed the Readers' Course and the Reading Period with a mentor to the satisfaction of the designated regulatory authority (the Victorian Bar) (s.50 LPUL). It is further subject to the approval of Bar Council as delegate of the Victorian Legal Services Board.

The current annual fee for a barrister practising certificate can be found on the website of the Legal Services Board + Commissioner here.

How to apply - create a law practice as a sole practitioner
To apply for a local practising certificate you must first hold a law practice as a sole practitioner.

To create your law practice, complete the form Notification of New Law Practice. Because you will be a sole practitioner barrister, the form does not require details of your ABN and/or ACN, nor the attachment of a certificate of currency of professional indemnity insurance.

Your certificate of currency is processed concurrently with your application for professional indemnity insurance (see Professional Indemnity Insurance).

Register online
Once you are notified that your law practice has been created, you may log in to or register with LSB Online. Your user name is your Practitioner number (P00.....). Once logged in, select the Forms page and the grant or variation option and follow the prompts. Much of the data is pre-filled.

At the "Practice" tab, select "add practice" to attach yourself to your Law Practice as a sole practitioner.

The Bar will be notified once your application has been submitted and will contact you regarding completion of the process.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Before commencing to engage in legal practice, a law practice must obtain professional indemnity insurance (s.45(1)(b) LPUL). At all times while a law practice is engaged in legal practice, a law practice must maintain professional indemnity insurance.

The primary insurer for the Bar is the Legal Practitioners Liability Committee (LPLC).

The current LPLC policy for barristers is available here.