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PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE

Issued:  Friday 30 June 2016

Are you an interstate practitioner or a local solicitor covered by PII from elsewhere than in NSW or Victoria?

From 1 July 2016, minimum standards apply to Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) policies of non-participating States and Territories covering practitioners working in the Uniform Law jurisdictions. 

​"The Legal Services Council approves the PII policies of States and Territories that are not part of the Uniform Law scheme but that cover legal practice in NSW and/or Victoria," Dale Boucher, CEO said.

"After lengthy consultation, the Council has confirmed that from 1 July 2016 the same minimum standards that apply in NSW and Victoria will also apply to the PII policies of other States and Territories for legal work done in either State. An interstate solicitor must have a minimum of $2M cover for each claim, and interstate barristers – $1.5M, where they provide legal services for clients in NSW or Victoria.

"This will mean that consumers in NSW and Victoria will have the same minimum protection from professional negligence regardless of where their practitioner or the insurer is based.  The profession and the community as a whole also benefit from a predictable and consistent approach to PII coverage for lawyers.

"Minimum standards for consumer protection are just that - a floor of insurance standards below which we as a profession should not fall", Mr Boucher said.  

What do I need to do now?

If you are an interstate practitioner or a local solicitor covered by the PII of a law practice that has offices in more than one State and you will be doing work in NSW or Victoria, you should check that your PII cover meets the requirements of the Uniform Law and Uniform Rules.

To practice in NSW or Victoria an Australian legal practitioner or incorporated legal practice must hold or be covered by an approved insurance policy that covers the legal practice in the participating jurisdiction (s 211, s 212).

  • The PII policies of NSW and Victoria are approved insurance policies by virtue of the Uniform Law and the Uniform General Rules (s 210(1), r 78, 79);

The PII policies of the States and Territories that are not part of the Uniform Law must be approved by the Legal Services Council (s 210 (2)). 

LSC PII Approval 2016-2017 and future years

On 29 June 2016, the Legal Services Council confirmed that:

For 2016-2017 and future years, until further notice, the Council determines pursuant to section 210 (2) of the Uniform Law that a professional indemnity insurance policy of a non-participating jurisdiction that covers legal practice in a participating jurisdiction is an approved insurance policy for the purpose of Part 4.4 of the Uniform Law if it:

For 2016-2017 and future years, until further notice, the Council determines pursuant to section 210 (2) of the Uniform Law that a professional indemnity insurance policy of a non-participating jurisdiction that covers legal practice in a participating jurisdiction is an approved insurance policy for the purpose of Part 4.4 of the Uniform Law if it: 

  1. ​​​​is a policy issued or provided by an insurer or other provider approved under, or selected in accordance with jurisdictional legislation of a non-participating jurisdiction; and​
  2. complies with the minimum standards set out in Uniform General Rules 78 (law practices except barristers) and Rule 79 (barristers) respectively, for participating jurisdictions; or
  3. ​is otherwise approved by the Legal Services Council.

​​Note: An Australian legal practitioner or an incorporated legal practice is not required separately to hold or be covered by an approved insurance policy of a participating jurisdiction if an exemption under section 215 applies. 

Do I need multiple PII policies?

The Uniform Law provides exemptions for interstate practitioners, multi-jurisdiction ILPs and local practitioners of multi-jurisdictional law practices, who are providing services in a Uniform Law State, to ensure the profession is not burdened by the cost of having to have multiple PII policies.

If you hold or are covered by the PII of NSW or Victoria, you are covered by an approved insurance policy (s 210 (1). To be an approved insurance policy of a non-participating jurisdiction the PII must meet the criteria adopted by the LSC, which include the minimum standards set out in Uniform General Rules 78 (solicitors) or 79 (barristers). You can access Rules 78 and 79 below:

Uniform General Rule 78

Uniform General Rule 79

  • Interstate solicitors and barristers and larger multi-jurisdiction law practices and local solicitors in larger law practices are exempt from the requirement to obtain the PII of NSW/Victoria, as the case may be, if they hold or are covered by an approved insurance policy (s 215(1)(3)(5)).
  • The designated local regulatory authorities in NSW or Victoria, may grant exemptions to an ILP that holds an approved PII and has an office in their jurisdiction and one only one other jurisdiction or a legal practitioner who is an associate of such a law practice (s 215 (2)(4)).

You should check that your PII is an approved insurance policy of either NSW or Victoria, or is an approved insurance policy of a non-participating State. If you are uncertain you should check with your local professional association or regulatory authority.

If your PII is a policy of a non-participating jurisdiction and does not meet the minimum standards and you want to provide legal services to clients in Victoria or NSW, you should bring this to the attention of your local professional association, who will raise the issue with the LSC.

More information

Please contact the Legal Services Council with any queries.

E:  lsc@legalservicescouncil.org.au

T:  +61 2 8293 5900
F:  +61 2 8293 5959 

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