English Language Proficiency Requirements

 
Each Australian Admitting Authority must be satisfied that any applicant for admission to the legal profession has a sufficient knowledge of written and spoken English to engage in legal practice in that jurisdiction.

The Legal Practice Board (Board) applies the Law Admissions Consultative Committee (LACC) English Language Proficiency Requirements, however, from 4 August 2021 the Board is trialling the following approach.

You will generally not be required to undertake further English language testing prior to admission if you can satisfy one of the following:
 
  1. You completed your law degree in Australia, Canada (except the province of Quebec), New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland) or the United States of America, and also completed the final two years of your secondary education in those countries.

  2. You completed your law degree in Australia, Canada (except the province of Quebec), New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland) or the United States of America, and you have resided in one or more of those countries for a (combined) period of at least 10 years.

  3. You have achieved the following required scores in the IELTS (Academic) or TOEFL iBT tests, regardless of how long ago the tests were completed (across one or more tests): 

         IELTS (Academic) Test minimum scores of 7.0 for listening, 7.0 for reading, 7.5 for speaking and 8.0 for writing; OR
         TOEFL iBT Test minimum scores of 24 for listening, 24 for reading, 24 for speaking and 27 for writing.

  4. You have achieved the required scores in 3 of the components of the IELTS (Academic) test but only achieved within 0.5 mark of the required score in the remaining component, OR
    you have achieved the required scores in 3 of the components of the TOEFL iBT test but have only achieved within 1 mark of the required score in the remaining component (across one or more tests).
If you do not satisfy one of the above categories, you will be required to undertake testing and achieve the scores required under point 3 or point 4 above before the Board will give you a compliance certificate.

Completing the On-Line Admission Application Form:

When you are completing the English Proficiency section of the on-line admission application form, you may find that you are required to provide more information than is indicated above.

You are also likely to reach a statement that reads:
I have or will apply for an exemption from English language testing under the Second, Fifth or Sixth Pathways.
If so, please answer “yes” to that question.

Checklist generated when the On-Line Admission Application is submitted:

When completing the English Proficiency Section of the On-Line Admission Application, you may be requested to advise the periods and countries in which you completed your primary, secondary and tertiary education. If so, fully complete that question and you will not be required to provide any further information unless requested by the Board.

The checklist that is generated when you submit your On-Line Admission Application may require you to lodge documentation relevant to your English proficiency. Please be aware that the information on the checklist may not be accurate. Once your application is processed, Board staff will request the further documentation that is required.  

However, you can pre-empt those requirements as follows:
 
  1. If you are relying on Point 1. above, provide a statutory declaration that states:
    1. the dates (month/year to month/year) of the final two years of your secondary education;
    2. the country in which you completed the final two years of your secondary education; and
    3. the country/ies in which you were residing whilst completing your law degree. 

  2. If you are relying on Point 2. above, please provide a statutory declaration that states:
    1.  the period/s (month/year to month/year) you were living in one or more of the countries listed in Point 2;
    2. the name of the country for each of the periods listed; and
    3. the country/ies in which you were residing whilst completing your law degree.

  3. If you are relying on Points 3. or 4, you will be required to email the Board a copy of the results certificate for every IELTS (Academic) and/or TOEFL iBT test that you have undertaken.
The documents can be emailed to the Board in the first instance, but where a statutory declaration is required, you will also need to post or deliver the original to the Board.

Important Information:

  1. It is important that any information that you submit in your Online Admission Application or statutory declarations given to the Board is true and correct in every detail. If you knowingly give the Board false information, it may be grounds for the Board to refuse to issue a compliance certificate and you may not be able to be admitted as a lawyer.
     
  2. The Board may request you to provide further documentation in support of statements made in the Online Admission Application or a statutory declaration.
     
  3. Every application is considered on its merits. The Board may request you to meet English language testing requirements if there are concerns about your English proficiency, notwithstanding that you may satisfy the criteria given in Points 1 and 2 above.