Parties required to undertake the PMC

A decision was made to identify who would be required to undertake and satisfactorily complete the PMC, or be exempted from completing the PMC.

There are many practitioners already in the work place who act in the role of a principal, including: 
  • sole practitioners;
  • principals of law firms;
  • legal practitioner directors of incorporated legal practices; 
  • legal practitioner partners of multi-disciplinary practices; and
  • practitioners coming into Western Australia from other Australian jurisdictions who will have acted as a principal in those other jurisdictions.
It is not realistic to enforce attendance and completion of the PMC on these practitioners.

However, additionally there will be: 
  • practitioners coming into Western Australia from international jurisdictions who will have acted as a principal in those other jurisdictions; 
  • leaders of in-house legal teams;
  • leaders of legal teams within government agencies;
  • leaders of community legal centres; and
  • leaders within the Aboriginal Legal Service.   
and who wish to act in the capacity of a principal in this state. 

The grant of a revocation or variation on the PMC condition on the practising certificate of those practitioners will be considered on an individual basis upon application.

Practitioners who had not previously held an unrestricted practising certificate but had acted, for example, as a legal team leader in a government agency, would need to provide a case for exemption from both the period of unrestricted practice (by application to the Board) and then from the requirement to complete the PMC (by application to the Board) before they could become a principal outside their government working context.

Another exception to the imposition of the PMC condition is the holder of a practising certificate subject to a period of supervised legal practice pursuant to section 50 of the Legal Profession Act 2008.

The PMC condition will not be imposed on a local practising certificate if the holder is still subject to a period of supervised legal practice (see rule 18C(2)). As a restricted practitioner is eligible to be a principal, as a partner in a law practice, it is not practicable to have the PMC condition imposed on the holder’s local practising certificate, and the holder be required to comply with the PMC condition prior to completing a period of supervised legal practice. At the conclusion of the restricted practitioner’s period of supervised legal practice, the PMC condition will be imposed on the local practising certificate held.

It is also not realistic to enforce attendance and completion of the PMC on practitioners practising solely in the manner of a Barrister. All current Barristers act in the role of a principal as a sole practitioner and will benefit from the exception in that regard (see rule 18C(2)). However, incoming Barristers may seek to vary the PMC condition to make its effect nugatory while the practitioner practises as a Barrister, has the ‘Barrister only’ condition imposed on the practitioner’s local practising certificate and has completed, or has undertaken to complete, a suitable course for practise as a Barrister that is approved by the WA Bar Association or equivalent within a specified period of time, or the practitioner has the skills or experience to practise as a Barrister (see rule 18F(2)).

Rule 18D(2) provides that an application for revocation or variation from the PMC must be in the approved form. The approved forms referred to in rule 18D(2) are: The above forms are available for download from the Board’s website.

An additional utilisation of the PMC and the modules within the PMC will be to grant powers to the Board and its delegated committees, and to the Legal Profession Complaints Committee, to impose sanctions and direct that part or all of the PMC be undertaken and successfully completed by practitioners in circumstances that it is deemed appropriate for them to do so. Such sanctions would be implemented through the imposition of a condition on the practitioner’s local practising certificate.

By having an imposed sanction condition on the holder’s local practising certificate, the practitioner would not be entitled to apply for removal of the primary condition to complete a PMC, or for any other exemption in regard to the PMC, until the sanction condition requirements had been satisfied and the condition removed from the local practising certificate.


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