New Zealand Law Society - Practising fee for 2022/23

Practising fee for 2022/23

The Law Society, like all organisations has had to pivot and absorb the financial impact of Covid-19. In the last two annual reports, the Law Society has outlined to the profession the significant investment that has had to occur in order for modern systems, processes, structure and staff capability to meet the needs of a burgeoning profession.  A rigorous Board-driven process has been undertaken to assess what further investment is needed and we advise that the practising certificate fee is increasing by $150 to $1290 per annum (GST exclusive). There are also some smaller increases to other fees such as those for practising on own account. Two levies are being reduced.  

The proposal to increase the fees has been approved by the national Law Society Council made up of branches, sections and interest groups, and the Minister of Justice. 

The 2021/22 practising fee was $1,140, which included a $100 increase (GST exclusive). 2021 was the first time the fee had been increased since it was reduced in 2016 and 2017. The reduction of the fee caused it to lag behind inflation, resulting in cost pressures and a lack of investment in important infrastructure for the Law Society. Notably, even with this further increase, the total fee will be only $98 more than it was seven years ago and $129 below the CPI rate had the rate been adjusted each year for inflation rather than reduced.

The increase will allow the Law Society to partially fund the strategic initiatives, including major IT infrastructure and systems upgrades and the once-in-a-generation Independent Review. In addition, we will be utilising capital reserves while also maintaining adequate reserves for future investment. These strategic initiatives allow us to keep tracking forward as a fit-for-the-future regulator while the Independent Review takes place. 

Looking ahead, it is likely that any increases after this year will be minor for the foreseeable future and more likely to align with inflation. There is further investment required beyond this year, but the Board will continue to carefully plan future investment with an eye to continued financial stability and the least impact possible on the practising fee.  

The table below sets out the Council’s full resolutions in respect of the 2022/23 fees, levies, and contributions. With the reduction in the two compulsory levies the total payable by employees and barristers sole is an increase of $137 overall (GST exclusive - from $1,292 to $1,429). 

What your practising fee is spent on

Regulatory fees and levies are compulsory for all lawyers and enable the Law Society to meet its legal obligations to uphold professional standards and provide consumer protection. 

The practising fee is not a membership fee. It provides the funding for the Law Society to oversee, investigate and prosecute complaints and disciplinary matters. The fee also covers administering the Registry and practice approval processes, providing input into law reform through the significant law reform committee network, ensuring there are wellness initiatives, and funding libraries as well as a share of operational costs to support these functions. There are 172 staff of the Law Society based all over Aotearoa New Zealand with the head office in Wellington, larger offices in Auckland and Christchurch and satellite offices across all of the regions.

What happens next

Practising fees must be paid in full by 30 June 2022. We will email you soon with instructions for how to renew your practising certificate.

Changes to fees and levies for 2022/23 

All increases and reductions are GST inclusive.

Fee increases

Application Type

Current fee

GST

New fee

Practising certificate

$1,311

$193.50

$1,483.50

NZLS Associate Membership

$86.25

$12.39

$95.00

Assessment of Overseas Qualifications

$115.00

$16.57

$127.00

Certificate of Standing (Current PC)

$57.50

$8.22

$63.00

Certificate of Standing

(No PC)

$86.25

$12.39

$95.00

Legal Aid Certificate of Standing

$30.00

$4.30

$33.00

Direct instructions

$50.00

$7.17

$55.00

Practise on Own Account

$250.00

$35.87

$275.00

Levy increase

Levy Type

Current levy

GST

New levy

Inspectorate levy

$437.00

$64.50

$494.50

Levy reductions

Levy Type

Current levy

GST

New levy

Legal Complaints Review Office levy

$149.50

 $18.00

$138.00

NZ Council of Legal Education levy

$25.30

 $2.85

$21.85

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