Important Information for Admission Applicants
Admission as a lawyer in the Australian Capital Territory
An application for admission must be filed no later than 21 days before the admission day. A list of admission days can be found here.
Late applications will not be accepted. If you are sending your application by post it must be received by COB on the final date for lodging documents.
Applicants whose documents are received after the final date will be offered a choice of having their documents returned or having the application listed in the next admission ceremony.
Admission ceremonies are organised in the order that applications are received. If you have a preference for an early ceremony, you should file your application well before the final date for lodging documents. If you wish to be in the same ceremony as a friend or colleague, you should file your applications at the same time.
Filing your application
If you reside in the ACT you should file your application in person at the Registry, located in the Magistrates Court Building, 4 Knowles Place, Canberra City. Registry hours are 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. If you reside interstate and are posting your application, you should send to:
ACT Supreme Court
GPO Box 1548
CANBERRA CITY ACT 2601
If posting your documents, you must include a cheque or money order for the filing fee made out to – Registrar ACT Supreme Court, or if you wish to pay by credit card, include your credit card details and a contact phone number.
Legislation governing admission and admission documents
Legal Profession Act 2006, part 2.3 – Admission of local lawyers
Court Procedures Rules 2006 – part 3.11 – Legal profession
Court Procedures Rules 2006 – part 6.3 – Documents
Court Procedures Rules 2006 – part 6.10.2 - Affidavits
Documents to be filed are:
- Originating application for admission as a lawyer – form 3.46
- Applicant’s affidavit – see example of completed applicant’s affidavit
- 3 affidavits of character – see example of completed character affidavit
The text in brackets/italics in sample documents is to prompt you to include the relevant information. Do not include this text in your affidavit.
An original set of documents plus 1 copy must be filed. The originating application and each affidavit should be individually stapled. Copy documents do not need to be individually stapled or certified and can be stapled as one document.
Documents filed in support of an admission application that do not comply with the Court Procedure Rules 2006 will be requisitioned which usually means that new affidavits need to be prepared. This is an additional burden for the applicant, and for others if the error is in an affidavit of character so please ensure that all documents comply with the rules.
Originating application for admission as a lawyer
You must include the date you wish to be admitted, and the time in your Originating Application. The time should be stated as 10:00 am. This does not mean that you will be in the 10:00 am admission ceremony as the number of admission ceremonies to be held is not known until after the final date for lodging documents. You should contact the Secretary in the week following the final date for lodging documents to find out the time of your admission ceremony.
Affidavits must be correctly sworn or affirmed. A common mistake is to file affidavits in which the deponent states on the first page that they are making oath but the jurat is affirmed, or vice versa.
The date on which the affidavit is sworn or affirmed must be consistent throughout. For example, if an affidavit has annexures, the date in the affidavit and the annexure statement must be the same.
Address for service details must be in the footer of the first page of an affidavit. Affidavits with address for service details in the body of the document will be requisitioned.
Witnessing an affidavits
In the ACT an affidavit can be taken by a Justice of the Peace, a legal practitioner or a Notary Public for the ACT – Oaths and Affirmations Act 1984 s.11.
An affidavit taken in another jurisdiction can be taken before a person who is authorised to take an affidavit in that jurisdiction. Applicants should refer to the relevant legislation in their state or territory.
An Australian diplomatic or consular representative is also entitled to take an affidavit in the country in which they are situated - Oaths and Affirmations Act 1984s.11 (c)(ii).
You will be admitted in the name on your Originating application for admission as a lawyer. That name should be the same as the name on the testamur or academic transcript annexed to your application.
If the name on your testamur or academic transcript is different to the name in your originating application, you should include a paragraph in your affidavit explaining the difference. You should also annex to your affidavit any certificates supporting a change of name, such as a marriage certificate. The applicant’s name should be consistent throughout all documents – originating application, applicant’s affidavit and character affidavits.
Whether you make an oath or an affirmation in the admission ceremony is determined by whether your affidavit is sworn or affirmed. Sometimes applicants who have affirmed their affidavit advise on the admission day that they wish to take an oath at the admission ceremony, or vice versa. Please consider your choice when you are making your affidavit.
The Rules require an applicant to disclose whether or not they have had a criminal conviction in Australia or elsewhere, or whether or not there are any matters relevant to fitness for admission. If you make a disclosure in your affidavit, including but not limited to Centrelink overpayments or academic misconduct, those who give you a character affidavit should acknowledge in their affidavit that they have read your affidavit and have taken the matter(s) disclosed into account when assessing your fame and character.
Annexures to the applicant’s affidavit must include the annexure statement, Form 6.12
The period that a person who provides a character affidavit should have known the applicant is not prescribed in the rules however the Board considers that the period should be at least 12 months.
It is advisable to provide character affidavits from people who know you in a variety of circumstances, rather that providing all character affidavits from people who know you in the same circumstances such as work colleagues or university friends. It is not advisable to provide character affidavits from family members or partners. You will be required to file an additional character affidavit if these guidelines are not observed.
Rule 3608(5)(c) requires a person providing a character affidavit to disclose whether there is or has been a business or professional relationship between the person and the applicant, and if so, the nature of the relationship. The relationship between the applicant and a work colleague, past or present, should be considered a professional relationship and should be acknowledged as such in an affidavit of character.
Progress of application
Applicants do not receive written confirmation that their application has been approved. The Secretary of the Board will contact applicants if there are any issues with their application that need to be rectified. That will usually be in the week after the final date for lodging documents.
It is in the applicant’s interest to ensure that they include in their application a telephone number where they can be contacted during business hours and an email address. All applicants should contact the Secretary by phone or email no later than 5 days before the admission day to find out which admission ceremony they are in and to advise the name of the person who will be moving their admission.
Contacts details: by phone on 02 6207 1219
The following people are eligible to move an admission:
- A local lawyer - a person whose name is on the ACT Supreme Court roll, whether or not they hold a practicing certificate.
- An Australian Legal Practitioner (Legal Profession Act 2006 s.8, s.34) - a person who holds a practicing certificate in the ACT or another state or territory.
- If you don’t know a person who is eligible to move your admission, contact the Young Lawyers Committee of the ACT Law Society. The Young Lawyers Committee also offers support to newly admitted lawyers along with opportunities for both social and professional development.
Robing requirements are set out in Practice Direction 2 of 2009, amended on 11 November 2015.
For the applicant, usual business attire is appropriate.
The Court does not set a limit for the number of guests that an applicant can invite to an admission ceremony however it should be remembered that space is limited and some guests may be required to stand.
Admission ceremony program
You should arrive at the court approximately half an hour before your admission ceremony is scheduled.
Applicants, accompanied by moving counsel, will be called and seated in the courtroom.
Guests are seated.
Applicants are individually moved for admission. Each applicant stands as their name is called. Moving counsel also stands and moves admission. Counsel says ‘May it please the court, I move that [full name of applicant] be admitted as a lawyer of this honourable Court’. When the applicant and moving counsel have been acknowledged by the presiding judge, they both sit and the next person’s name is called, and so on until all admissions have been moved.
The oath/affirmation is administered collectively by the Registrar.
Presiding judge makes a speech welcoming newly admitted lawyers.
Newly admitted lawyers are directed to another courtroom to sign the roll and collect their admission certificate.