Notice to the Profession – Practising certificate renewal applications and payment of fees 2020/2021


09 Apr 2020

Whilst the impact of COVID-19 on the legal profession is unknown and is impossible to model on a financial basis, there is no doubt that it will cause disruption to the delivery of legal services and the capacity of legal practitioners to meet some compliance requirements. 

One obvious area of concern to practitioners will be their ability to pay the prescribed annual fee required to accompany an application to renew a practising certificate.

In response to COVID-19, and to assist the profession to meet requirements in relation to renewing practising certificates from 1 July 2020, for the 2020/2021 renewal period only:

  • All practitioners will be required to submit their application for the renewal of a practising certificate in the standard renewal period (1 to 31 May 2020) – as per existing procedures.

  • Payment of 50% of the prescribed fee of $1,250 (i.e. $625) and the Guarantee Fund (SGF) contribution ($20), if any, will be required to be paid by 30 June 2020.

  • Payment of the balance of the prescribed fee (i.e. $625) will be required by 12 December 2020.

  • Applications for renewal of a practising certificate made after 31 May 2020 will attract late fees (as per existing procedures), and be payable by 12 December 2020.
 

It is expected that many practitioners will have questions regarding the Board’s decision above, and set out below are some frequently asked questions.

However, if you have any further questions please note our office is currently working remotely and we have limited availability to take phone calls, so please email the Board at general@lpbwa.com using “Practising Certificate Fee Payment” in the subject line.

Please note the Board is working hard to ensure as many practitioners as possible are supported with amended practising arrangements and remain in the profession during this difficult and turbulent time.

FAQs

Why do I need to renew between 1 and 31 May 2020?
The standard renewal period is 1 to 31 May each year. If you apply to renew between 1 June and 30 June, or after 1 July, late fees apply.

The Board is encouraging all practitioners to submit their renewal applications during the 2020/2021 standard renewal period (1 to 31 May 2020), with or without payment.

If you lodge your application during the standard renewal time late fees won’t apply even if you do not make any payment until 30 June 2020.

If you lodge your application between 1 and 30 June 2020 late fees will apply, but you will still only need to pay $625 plus any SGF by 30 June 2020, and the balance ($625) plus late fees by 12 December 2020.

If I pay 50% of the fee plus any SGF by 30 June 2020 and the balance by 12 December 2020, when will
my practising certificate issue?


100% of the fee (and any applicable late fee) needs to be paid before your 2020/2021 practising certificate application can be approved and your certificate issued, however lodging your application on time and paying $625 by 30 June 2020 means the Board will accept your application and your certificate expiring 30 June 2020 will remain in force until your 2020/2021 certificate issues or you withdraw your application.

What if I don’t pay 50% of the fee ($625) or pay less than that by 30 June 2020?

If you don’t pay 50% by 30 June 2020 (plus any SGF) the Board may take steps to refuse consideration of your application. If your application is not accepted you will not have a right to engage in legal practice.

Can I pay the balance of my practising certificate fee in instalments?

Yes, the Board encourages you to pay the balance whatever way you can and when you can. Once the full fee is received and all other requirements are met your practising certificate can issue.

What if I lodge my application after 1 July 2020?

You will need to satisfy the Board that your late lodgement is due to reasons beyond your control or there are other special circumstances warranting acceptance of your renewal application. You will need to pay $625 (and any SGF) at the time of lodging the application and, if the application is accepted, the balance by 12 December 2020, including any late fees.

What if I simply cannot pay the balance of the application fee by 12 December 2020?

Demonstrated circumstances of significant hardship as a result of COVID-19 will be considered on a case-by-case basis in relation to payment of the balance of the practising certificate fee.

What if I apply for the grant of a new practising certificate some time during the 2020/2021 certificate year, as opposed to applying to renew my current 2019/2020 certificate?
Applications for the grant of a local practising certificate will still need to be accompanied by the full prescribed fee.