To practise as or to call yourself a New Zealand lawyer you must:
- complete a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) approved by the New Zealand Council of Legal Education (NZCLE). Overseas law graduates or those who have been admitted in another jurisdiction (except Australia) may be required to complete further New Zealand university subjects and/ or parts of the New Zealand Law and Practice Examination; and
- complete the Professional Legal Studies Course at either the Institute of Professional Legal Studies or College of Law. Overseas trained lawyers may be exempted from this, once their qualifications and experience have been assessed by the NZCLE; and
- obtain a certificate of completion from the NZCLE; and
- obtain a certificate of character from the Law Society; and
- be admitted to the roll of barristers and solicitors of the High Court of New Zealand; and
- hold a current practising certificate issued by the Law Society.
People without current practising certificates cannot describe themselves as lawyers under the LCA. See enrolled practitioners without practising certificates for more information.
If you hold a New Zealand law degree or have been admitted as a lawyer in another jurisdiction and have completed the qualifications prescribed by the NZCLE
If you are qualified under s49(2) of (3) LCA, you must:
- apply to the NZCLE for a certificate of completion
- apply to the Law Society for a certificate of character
An application for admission must be filed in the High Court and include:
- an originating application, made by the lawyer moving your admission in form LA 1 of the Schedule to the Admission Rules
- an affidavit in support, sworn by you, in form LA 2 (if you hold a New Zealand law degree) or LA 3 (if you have been admitted in an overseas jurisdiction and have completed any additional requirements prescribed by the NZCLE)
- the required filing fee (noted at Law Practitioners, items 59-64 and payable to the court).
Where a group admission hearing is scheduled, the application must be filed at least one month before that date, unless the Registrar allows it to be filed late.
The affidavit in support (LA 2) must have the following attached:
- a certificate of completion or a copy of the refusal by the NZCLE to issue this
- a certificate of character or other response from the Law Society to your application
- a copy of the receipt the Law Society gave you for your certificate of character payment (this payment is separate from the filing fee).
Sealing of order
If you wish to hold a practising certificate in the future, you should seek to have the order for admission sealed and retain a copy. If you require a copy to be returned to you then you must file in duplicate. Please use the form LA 5 for that purpose.
If you hold a current practising certificate in Australia
If you are qualified under s49(4) (under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997), you must apply directly to the High Court, using the form LA 4.
For further information, refer to the Guidelines for admission under the TTMRA.
If you have an overseas law qualification
If you have an overseas law qualification but are not entitled to practise in another jurisdiction, you must apply to the NZCLE for an assessment of your qualifications.
Applying for a practising certificate
Once you have been admitted you can apply to the Law Society for a practising certificate.
Refusal of certificate of character or completion
If you are refused a certificate of completion and/or a certificate of character, you may use the processes set out in Rule 6 of the Admission Rules.
Please note applications for Admission are Civil proceedings in the High Court commenced by way of originating application, and as such all documents filed in the High Court must comply with the High Court Rules 2016. Please check the legislation for any updated amendments.