Barristers never used to need practising certificates

Justice Fullagar narrated the history of practising certificates and barristers in Victorian Lawyers RPA Limited v Henderson [1999] VLPT 13:

‘For brevity we shall refer collectively to the succession of statutes governing legal practice in Victoria from the time of the Royal Assent to the Legal Profession Practice Act 1958 until the present day as the legal practice acts. Until 1989 the legal practice acts did not require a legal practitioner to have a practising certificate if he or she was engaged in practice exclusively as a barrister. In 1989 the legal practice acts were amended, and what might be called the certificate-free area was restricted to those legal practitioners whose names were on the Bar Roll kept by the Victorian Bar Council. Finally the Legal Practice Act of 1996 provided and still provides that so far as Victorian practitioners are concerned no person whatever shall engage in legal practice unless the person holds a practising certificate. See section 314. The contents of sub-sections (5) and (6), and the penalty of two years imprisonment for engaging in practice without a certificate, demonstrate the importance of these fundamental provisions in the eye of the legislature.

Clause 10 sub-clause 3 of Schedule 2 of the Act of 1996 provided that those practitioners who were on the bar roll need not have a practising certificate until April 1997.’

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