New Zealand Law Society - Information others must supply on your behalf

Information others must supply on your behalf

Some documents and information in support of your Certificate of Character must be provided directly to the Law Society on your behalf by others.

Documents supplied must be originals and copies will not be accepted.


  • Refer to the notes attached to the application form for the required number of references, which will vary according to circumstances.
  • Ask your chosen referees to complete the referee report and send this to the Law Society branch where you intend making application.
  • If you have answered 'Yes' to any of the fit and proper questions, your referees will need to comment with reference to the question.
  • Tell your referees the final date for handing references to the branch.
  • Only reference forms completed by the referees within the past three months will be considered.

Note: the Law Society will not accept references provided direct by an applicant.

Certificate/s of standing from an overseas regulatory authority

If you have been admitted and practised overseas you must arrange for the relevant overseas regulatory authorities to forward a current (less than three months) certificate/s of standing directly to the relevant branch office.

Certificate/s of standing from another regulated profession

(ie, doctor, teacher, financial advisor, immigration advisor, etc)

If you have ever held a licence or practising certificate (or equivalent) in another regulated profession, you must arrange for the relevant regulatory authority to forward a current (less than three months) certificate/s of standing directly to the appropriate Law Society branch office.

Detail of criminal convictions

The Law Society will initiate a request for a criminal conviction history from the Ministry of Justice. You will receive an email from the Ministry asking you to complete your details to enable the report. The report will be sent directly to the Law Society. If you have a conviction, please ensure that your referees are aware and comment on these in any reference supplied. Please also provide the summary and the Court sentencing notes, (if available) along with an explanation in your own words.

Note that the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 confers certain rights on all New Zealanders regarding certain criminal convictions. You are not expected to give up these rights and to disclose information which you are protected from giving by the Act.

If you have a current conviction, please provide your application for a certificate of character, to the branch as soon as applications open. Check the admissions timeline on the Law Society website.

Information from the Official Assignee

If you have ever been adjudged bankrupt you must ask the Official Assignee to provide an original of the bankruptcy notice and a Discharge of Bankruptcy (if applicable) directly to the Law Society branch where you are making application.

Information from the law schools and the professional training institutes

The Law Society branch will make inquiries from the Dean of the law school from which you obtained your law degree, as well as the Director of the professional training institute from which you completed the PLS course.

If you have lived in a country other than New Zealand for more than one year since you turned 18 (other than on a University exchange arranged through a NZ University) you will need to arrange for an equivalent report to be sent direct to the Law Society from that country.

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