Availability of a ‘Volunteer or pro bono only’ condition for imposition on practising certificates 


Following a proposal by the Law Society of Western Australia, the Legal Practice Board (Board) agreed to make available a nil fee ‘Volunteer or pro bono only’ condition for imposition on a local practising certificate. 

The wording of the ‘Volunteer or pro bono only’ condition states:

This practising certificate is issued free of fees on condition that the holder is only engaged in the provision of legal services on a not-for-profit basis and does not charge any person nor seek to recover a fee from any person, save that the holder may:
 
  1. receive remuneration via a costs order in a matter if the holder has accepted a referral to act in that matter under Order 4.14 of the Federal Court of Australia Rules 2011 or under Order 12 of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia Rules 2001;
  2. recover from a person any out of pocket disbursements reasonably paid by the holder on behalf of a person.

The condition will be set out in its entirety in an annexure attached to a practitioner’s local practising certificate. The following will be displayed on the face of the certificate:
 
‘Volunteer or pro bono only’ condition - see details in Annexure A

Once imposed, the condition will remain on the practitioner’s local practising certificate until the Board removes the condition after accepting the practitioner’s application to the Board for its removal. 

Practitioners with the ‘Volunteer or pro bono only’ condition imposed on their certificates will still have to comply with professional indemnity insurance and continuing professional development requirements.

The ‘Volunteer or pro bono only’ condition will only be imposed by the Board on a local practising certificate with the agreement of the holder, pursuant to section 47(3)(i) of the Legal Profession Act 2008. The arrangement is voluntary.
 
  • Practitioners who are not presently providing legal services solely on a not-for-profit basis but who intend to begin providing legal services solely on a not-for-profit basis, should provide a written request to the Board to impose the ‘Volunteer or pro bono only’ condition on their local practising certificates prior to their commencing to provide legal services solely on a not-for-profit basis.
  • Applicants for the grant of a local practising certificate who intend to provide legal services solely on a not-for-profit basis should provide a written request to the Board to impose the ‘Volunteer or pro bono only’ condition on their local practising certificates to accompany their applications for the grant of a local practising certificate.
There is no prescribed form for the written request. The request should state that the applicant requests and agrees to the Board imposing the ‘Volunteer or pro bono only’ condition, pursuant to section 47(3)(i) of the Legal Profession Act 2008, on the local practising certificate issued to the applicant. It is envisaged that in the future, the Board’s online application and renewal process will also contain provision for the request to be made. Until those arrangements can be made, the Board will accept requests via email, facsimile and ordinary post.

If you have any queries, please contact the Board’s Deputy Executive Director, Ms Libby Fulham, or the Board’s Administrative Officer, Mr Tony Mylotte, on (08) 6211 3600.