New Zealand Law Society - Application to take direct instructions

Application to take direct instructions


To take direct instructions under r 14.5.2(d) to (h) you must meet the following requirements:

  • be practising on own account as a barrister sole (r 14.7.1)
  • have completed the prescribed training requirements (either NZLS CLE Ltd's The new intervention rule – what you must know or the barristerial module of Stepping Up: foundation for practising on own account after 1 July 2015) (r 14.7.2)
  • have satisfied the Law Society that you are a suitable person to accept direct instructions from clients (r 14.7.2)

(Please note this is not required for criminal proceedings where the client is legally aided or has a pending application for legal aid)

N.B You must apply and be approved to take direct instructions within two years of the completion of the prescribed training above.

Apply to take direct instructions

The Law Society must be satisfied that you are suitable to accept direct instructions. This requires an application process:

  • submit a completed application form
  • pay $59.00 (including GST) with your application. From 1 July 2024, the application fee will increase to $61 (including GST). 
  • send the completed form and payment to the Law Society.

Consideration of application

The application form requires you to disclose any upheld complaints and disciplinary history and advise the Law Society of what arrangements they have in place should you become incapacitated or unable to run your practice. 

The foremost matters taken into account when considering suitability to accept direct instructions will be a) the protection of the consumers of legal services and b) the maintenance of public confidence in the provision of legal services. 

If any issues arise in relation to an application, or the application is not straightforward, it will be referred to a Practice Approval Committee (PAC).

If referred to a PAC, that committee may make its own further enquiries. You will be advised if your application is referred to a PAC and the Secretary of that committee will make contact with the barrister to discuss the process. 

If you would like further information about the PAC processes, please feel free to contact the Secretary via If a PAC declines an application for direct instructions, the applicant may ask the New Zealand Law Society Board to review the decision.

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