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Appointing an external examiner

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What is an external examiner?

An external examiner (EE) is a person who is qualified to be appointed to examine the trust records of a law practice or approved barristers’ clerk.

Who can be an EE?

The criteria that a person must meet before they may qualify to be appointed as an EE are specified in sections 155 – 156 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria) and Rule 65 of the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015. An EE must complete the Legal Services Council approved External Examiners trust course conducted by the Law Institute of Victoria or NSW Law Society as part of these qualification requirements, and be a member of an approved accounting body.

Appointing an EE

If a law practice or barristers’ clerk holds a trust account, they must appoint an EE to examine the records of that trust account annually. The appointment gives the EE statutory powers to examine the law practice or barristers’ clerk’s trust records and report those findings to the VLSB+C.

A law practice or barristers’ clerk must notify the Board of the appointment of their EE using the notification of appointment of External Examiner form within one month after first receiving trust money (other than transit money).

Please note that it is the responsibility of the law practice or barristers’ clerk, not the EE, to lodge the appointment form with the Board.

A list of EEs qualified to examine the records of a law practice or barristers’ clerk is available for download. This list Register is updated monthly.

Termination or changing of an EE

A law practice or an approved clerk may terminate the appointment of an EE with the prior approval of the Board. The Board may give approval if satisfied that it is reasonable in the circumstances for the practice or clerk to terminate the appointment. The Board may require the law practice or approved clerk to supply any evidence to satisfy the Board as to those circumstances. A law practice or an approved clerk must notify the Board of the termination of an EE within 7 days after the termination, using Form Trust 3.

An EE can terminate an appointment with the law practice or approved barristers’ clerk by notifying that entity and the VLSB+C at any time.

A law practice or barristers clerk can terminate the appointment of the EE with their consent at any time.  However, when the law practice or barristers’ clerk does not have the consent of the EE, they need the prior approval of the VLSB+C before termination the services of their EE.  The VLSB+C may give approval if satisfied that it is reasonable in the circumstances for the law practice or barristers clerk to terminate the appointment. The Board may require the law practice or approved barristers’ clerk to supply any evidence to satisfy the Board as to those circumstances, for example there are no outstanding fees to the EE. 

A law practice or barristers’ clerk must notify the Board of the termination of an EE within seven days of the termination using the Request for approval of termination of External Examiner form.

Annual Trust Examination reporting

Parts A and B of the Annual Trust Examination are completed on LSB Online. The External Examiner submits the EE Report after completion of Parts A and B. If you are having any difficulties in submitting Parts A or B, please contact trustgroup@lsbc.vic.gov.au.

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