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Professional indemnity insurance (PII) is an important safeguard to protect lawyers, law practices and clients when things go wrong.
Who must be covered?
If you are a lawyer working in private practice or for a community legal service, you must be covered by an approved PII policy before you can practise law in Victoria.
Corporate and government lawyers do not need to hold PII, except under certain circumstances (see Corporate and government lawyers below).
Victorian lawyers in private practice
As a lawyer working in private practice, you must hold or be covered by an approved PII policy in Victoria, unless we have granted you an exemption. The Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee (LPLC) generally issues PII policies for Victorian lawyers who work in private practice.
If you hold a policy that is not issued by the LPLC, you will need to apply for an exemption by providing relevant documentation to demonstrate you hold appropriate insurance coverage.
If you are a Victorian lawyer who is employed by an interstate law practice, the principal must provide us with a copy of the law practice’s approved interstate PII policy. They can do this via the lawyer enquiry form.
Community legal services
If your CLS is a corporation, it must hold an approved insurance policy covering the CLS itself, each of the lawyers who work for it, and the actual work they do.
Approved PII providers for a CLS
Both the National Association of Community Legal Centres and the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority offer approved policies to cover a CLS. If you hold a policy with them, you must submit your certificate of insurance to us through the lawyer enquiry form.
If you hold a policy with another provider, you will need to provide us with the full policy via the lawyer enquiry form.
Corporate and government lawyers
If you’re a corporate or government lawyer, you don’t need professional indemnity insurance, unless you intend to provide pro bono legal services outside of a CLS. In this case, you will need to be covered by insurance.
Overseas lawyers practising in Victoria
If you are based overseas but practising Victorian law, you will need to either be covered by an approved insurance policy or apply to us for an exemption. You can apply for an exemption by submitting a copy of your full PII policy and any schedules to us through the lawyer enquiry form.
Foreign law and lawyers
If you’re an Australian-registered foreign lawyer, you don’t need to hold professional indemnity insurance. You don’t need to apply for an exemption from us, but you must tell each of your clients in writing whether you’re covered by other professional indemnity insurance or not. If you are covered, you must tell your clients the type and extent of your insurance.
For more information on practising as a foreign lawyer, see our foreign law and lawyers page.
Exemptions from professional indemnity insurance requirements
If you do not fall within the categories listed above or you hold a policy that is not issued by the LPLC, then you will likely need to apply for an exemption. Please contact us via the lawyer enquiry form.