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Professional indemnity insurance (PII) provides law practices with coverage against legal liability that may arise from their professional services.
Who must be covered?
f 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.
If you are engaged with multiple law practices, each practice must be covered by PII. It is the responsibility of the principal to ensure the law practice has appropriate PII cover.
Corporate legal practitioners and government legal practitioners are not required to hold PII except when engaging in legal practice as a volunteer (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 a PII exemption (see exemptions below).
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 and a copy all of the interstate Principal Practising Certificates. They can do this via the lawyer enquiry form.
Community legal services
Community legal services must hold an approved insurance policy covering the CLS itself, each of the lawyers who work for it, and the actual work they do.
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 annually to us through the lawyer enquiry form.
If you hold a policy with another provider, you will need to apply to have it approved pursuant to section 13 of the Uniform Application Act. You can do this by sending us a copy of 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 are volunteering at a CLS (in which case the CLS will generally arrange PII) or intend to provide pro bono legal services outside of a CLS. In this case, you will need to be covered by insurance.
In certain cases, the National Pro Bono Resource Centre may provide free PII to you if you are working on pro bono projects that have been approved by the Centre. You can find out more about this by contacting the National Pro Bono Resource Centre.
Where you are unable to obtain PII through the National Pro Bono Resource Centre, a private PII policy will need to be obtained, and you will need to apply to have the policy approved. You can do this by sending us a copy of the full policy and any schedules via the lawyer enquiry form.
Overseas lawyers practising in Victoria
If you are based overseas but practising remotely in Victoria, you will need to either hold a policy that is issued by the LPLC, or you will need to apply to us for an exemption (see exemptions below).
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 into one of the categories listed above and you hold insurance that is not issued by the LPLC, you will need to apply for an exemption by providing relevant documentation to demonstrate you hold appropriate coverage with another provider. The policy must comply with the minimum requirements for insurance that are set out in rule 78 of the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015. An exemption will only be granted by the Board in cases where a policy complies with the minimum requirements of PII.
You can apply for an exemption by submitting a copy of your full PII policy and a summary of how your policy complies with the minimum requirements. A template table outlining the minimum requirements can be found here. Your application can be submitted via our lawyer enquiry form.