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Big hike in applications to practise from overseas lawyers

31 May 2017

The number of applications to practise law in New Zealand from overseas graduates hit an eight-year high in 2016.

The New Zealand Council of Legal Education has published its annual report for the 2016 calendar year and it has been tabled in Parliament.

The report shows the number of overseas applications peaked at 126 last year, more than 30 higher than the years 2013-2015. Since 1998, the only calendar year that has had more applications from overseas was 2008 with 135.

Those applications come from 24 countries across all continents: Europe 5, Africa 2, the Americas 4, Asia 11 and Oceania 2.

The total revenue paid by overseas applicants amounted to $370,257, much higher than the expected figure of $300,950. This was due to the forecast of 100 applications being received, when there were 126.

During the year the Council received 962 completion certificate applications from New Zealand law graduates. The forecast was for 800.

The report notes that the number of Maori trainees on the Institute of Professional Legal Studies’ (IPLS) courses fell from 11% in 2015 to 8% in 2016. However, the number of Pasifika trainees rose from 5% to 8%, while those from Asian communities fell slightly, from 15% to 14%.

There continues to be far more women than men enrolling on the four versions of the course, but the number of women fell from 64% in 2015 to 61% in 2016.

The report shows the age of trainees has dropped. In 2015 the proportion of students at IPLS over the age of 30 was 22.7%, but in 2016 that had fallen to 18%, with the biggest drop being among those in the 40-49 age range.

However, it notes that enrolments were the strongest since 2006, the new 13-week full-time onsite courses available in Auckland and Wellington were “successfully delivered,” and the IPLS facilitated its first Advocacy assessment in teo reo Maori.

The IPLS offers courses in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, over two 13-week courses, and two that last 18 weeks.

Last updated on the 31st May 2017