Still want to be a lawyer on 1 July 2022? Here’s what you need to do
There’s a lot you need to do if you wish to stay registered as a lawyer. Note the dates; and act now!
Every year you need to renew your practising certificate – it’s a small amount of admin for the right and privilege to call yourself a lawyer and provide regulated services.
There are a couple of changed requirements this year, so the Law Society is encouraging you to get onto it as soon as possible.
You will need to make a non-compliant fit and proper declaration if:
Here’s some key dates for your diary. Renew early and avoid last minute stress.
- CPD year ends
- Last day for s.112 trust account declarations
- Last day to make your CPD declaration
- CPD is now overdue. You will need to make a late declaration to declare your CPD compliance or have received a deferment from the Law Society.
- Your firm administrator should have made payment to ensure your renewal is processed in time. It is your responsibility to check your payment status with your firm administrator, and to make your fit and proper declaration.
- Last day to make your fit and proper declaration, and payment.
- Practising certificates will be issued.
CPD: You should be making sure that you have completed your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements for the year.
The CPD year ends on 31 March, but you have until 7 April to make your declaration that you have fulfilled your CPD requirements.
Designated lawyer: If you haven’t already, please email email@example.com and let the Law Society know the name of your designated lawyer.
Sole practitioners and barristers are automatically the designated lawyer in their law practice. You will need to certify your compliance with the Conduct and Client Care Rules.
New: If you are the designated lawyer for your law practice, you will need to certify your practice’s compliance with the Conduct and Client Care Rules, and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
Don’t know if you comply? Check the Guidance on Professional Standards and Reporting Obligations. www.lawsociety.org.nz/professional-practice/rules-and-maintaining-professional-standards/guidance-on-professional-standards-and-reporting-obligations/
Not operating a trust account? There’s a form for that. You will have received an email from the Law Society on 1 March 2022 reminding you to fill out the certification form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 March.
I’m out: If you’re not going to renew, let us know as soon as possible, and we’ll stop emailing you the reminders.
31 March – CPD year ends. Last day for s.112 trust account declarations.
Start preparing to renew your practising certificate. Or let us know if you’re not going to renew.
Renewing your practising certificate is subject to:
Firm administrators should start updating their firm’s information, and check their firm’s records are correct as soon as possible. This will ensure that every lawyer receives notification about renewals and instructions on how to renew.
7 April – Last day to make your CPD declaration
8 April – CPD is now overdue. You will need to make a late declaration to declare your CPD compliance or have received a deferment from the Law Society.
You will need to make a non-compliant fit and proper declaration if you are not complying with any outstanding costs and fines or have not complied with your payment plan.
Rule 11.4.4 requires the designated lawyer to certify annually the law practice’s compliance with:
The designated lawyer must also certify annually that they have complied with the reporting obligations referred to above.
Certification will be completed online and will be part of the annual practising certificate renewals process.
Section 44 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 requires sole practitioners to appoint an attorney and an alternate which authorises them to conduct their sole practice if you are unable to do so.
It is an offence under s.45 of the Act not to have an attorney in place.
Now is also an opportune time to make contact with your attorney and alternate and update them on all aspects of your practice.
Individuals: log in to the Law Society website to check your personal information is still correct.
Firm administrators: log in to the firm account to check the people listed are correct. Make sure you have update your firm’s records.
Make your fit and proper declaration.
Practising fees and levies are not a membership. They are the cost lawyers need to pay for the profession’s regulation.
Please pay and make your fit and proper declaration early to ensure your renewal is seamless.
20 June – Your firm administrator should have made payment to ensure your renewal is processed in time. It is your responsibility to check your payment status with your firm administrator, and to make your fit and proper declaration.
30 June – Last day to make your fit and proper declaration, and payment.
On 1 July 2022 your new practising certificate will be issued.
If you miss the deadline, you’ll need to reapply.
Resources to help you
Information about renewing your practising certificate:
Designated lawyer – see our fact sheet.
Sole practitioners and barristers:
Read the Guidance on Professional Standards and Reporting Obligations.
If you need to create a bullying and harassment policy for your firm, read our previous article in LawTalk on designing anti-bullying and harassment policies for law practices.