Each year a small number of legal practitioners may fail to apply for renewal of their practising certificates in time and may inadvertently, practise unlicensed.
The Legal Services Council reminds the profession that legal practitioners in NSW and Victoria intending to continue in practice, must renew their practising certificates (PCs) by 30 June (Legal Profession Uniform General Rule 17) or risk penalties for practising unlicensed.
Those practitioners who fail to apply for renewal prior to 30 June but continue to practise after 30 June are practising unlicensed and commit an offence as they are in breach of section 10 of the Uniform Law. Penalties may include a fine of up to 250 penalty units or up to two year's imprisonment, or both.
These practitioners who miss the deadline must apply for a grant of a PC after 30 June. However when the PC is eventually granted, it cannot be backdated as there is no power in the Uniform Law or Rules to backdate a late application.
Moreover, section 10(2) mandates that the practitioner must return any amount received whilst unlicensed to clients.