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Tasmanian Legal Practice Course

The Tasmanian Legal Practice Course (TLPC) is a post graduate professional legal training program whose graduates are eligible to apply for admission as legal practitioners. Once admitted, you are eligible to apply for admission in other states or territories, either directly or to appear under the Mutual Recognition Scheme.

In addition, graduates are awarded a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Tasmania. The Course is conducted by the Centre for Legal Studies at the University's Hunter Street campus.

Why complete the Tasmanian Legal Practice Course

The TLPC is a practical and challenging course that provides you with an invaluable skill set whether or not you intend to practice law. In each year trainees attend the TLPC for different reasons: some because they intend to practice law; some to help them decide if they want to practice law; some to keep their career options open should they choose to practice law in the future; some to expand their qualifications and opportunities in the job market; and others are keen to gain skills, such as advocacy and letter writing to use in other professional roles.

The Course is recognised nationally as providing excellent quality training. It offers a unique and intense practical experience unlike any other professional legal training program and will be different to any other course that you will have studied at University.

  • a strong advocacy component with trainees appearing in the Supreme Court or Magistrates'
    Court before Judges and Magistrates on a weekly basis;
  • a client interviewing program partnered with the Hobart Community Legal Service and
    conducted with real clients;
  • workshop style teaching with an emphasis on learning through simulated transactional files;
  • direct instruction and support from Tasmania's Judges, Magistrates and legal practitioners;
  • emphasis and teaching of practical drafting and letter writing skills;
  • Three weeks work experience in a firm or government agency (arranged for you);
  • face-to-face teaching and mentoring with minimum online learning;
  • a networking program partnered with Hobart’s Young Lawyers;
  • a social and collegial environment; and
  • historically several employers seeking a graduate legal practitioner advertise their positions
    directly to trainees attending the TLPC.

Application Process

The closing date for applications for the following year's intake is 5.00pm on the last Friday of October.

  • Applicants are given preference if they apply by 31 October, however it is still possible to apply after that date if the Course is not oversubscribed, although this course is quota restricted.
  • Successful applicants should accept their offers promptly by the deadline set out in their offer letter. If an offer is not accepted by the deadline, it will lapse and the place will be offered to another applicant. Applicants who miss out on an offer in the initial offer round may still receive an offer if late places become available.
  • Deferral is not offered for this course due to restrictions on the number of places available.

Key application information:

  • The TLPC runs from February to July each year.
  • The workload is full-time, with core training on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to allow trainees flexibility to study around family and work commitments.
  • Successful graduates can expect to be admitted as a legal practitioner on Friday 23 August at a ceremonial admission sitting in the Supreme Court of Tasmania in Hobart.

Contact us

General Enquiries

Address: Room 1.2, 37 Hunter St Hobart Tasmania 7000
Telephone: +61 3 6226 4394
Fax: +61 3 6226 4398
Email: tas.legalpractice@utas.edu.au

People

Ms Naomi Bryant

Director, Centre for Legal Studies
Senior Lecturer, Clinical Legal Education, Law

Phone: +61 3 6226 4396 | Email: tas.legalpractice@utas.edu.au

A trainee who successfully completes the TLPC may expect to be admitted as a practitioner in late August of the same year.

Most applications will be heard on the same day in the Supreme Court in Hobart, however, it is possible for a trainee to have their application dealt with at another time, or at the Launceston or Burnie Courts.

Provided a trainee has successfully completed the TLPC and has all of the other statutory pre-requisites, they may apply for admission at any time in the future subject to any future legislative changes.

The admission process is a formal, and somewhat lengthy one, and as in past years guidance and assistance with it will be given to trainees by TLPC instructors, and staff from the Supreme Court registry. However, it is the responsibility of each trainee to be aware of the legislative provisions and the relevant law, and to complete the paperwork, comply with the timeframe and other requirements, file and serve documents and to pay the filing fee (currently $150) to the Supreme Court. For more information see pages 20-24 of the TLPC Handbook.

Applicants for admission are often uncertain about what matters should be disclosed to an Admitting Authority when applying for admission to the legal profession. As a result, the Law Admissions Consultative Committee (LCA) has developed and adopted Disclosure Guidelines (PDF 160.4KB) for Applicants for Admission to the legal profession. Potential applicants should familiarise themselves with the legislative requirements and these Guidelines.

Additional information and advice on making an application for admission to the legal profession in Tasmania can be found on the Supreme Court website.

The first course of professional legal instruction was held at the University of Tasmania in February 1970, subsidised by the Council of Advanced Education and conducted by the Law Society. Its objective was to "introduce a practical training course to recently qualified lawyers without practical experience." (Law Society of Tasmania Report by Mr H E Cosgrove, Chairman - The Legal Practice Course 1970).

The first of its kind to be arranged in Australia, the Course was held with 82 students over a period of 120 hours. As the Course was not a prerequisite to admission, content was general and designed to cover as much ground as possible, giving instruction in such areas as: Conveyancing, Litigation, Wills and Probate, Administration and Accounts, Financial Law, Matrimonial law.

After the trial run, the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education conducted the Course. The TCAE became the Tasmanian State Institute of Technology in 1985, which in turn merged with the University of Tasmania in 1991. The University then funded the Course.

What had begun as separate components for a career in the law, had become a University managed process, culminating in the scenario that existed until 1997- five years full time law school followed by 6 months practical legal training all funded by the University.

Prior to the 2000 intake of the Course, all graduates were required to complete a period of "apprenticeship" within a legal firm before admission to the Bar of the Court. This period of 'apprenticeship' was initially of 18 months duration and in latter times of 6 months duration.
Between 1989 and 1997 fees for the Course were HECS based. In 1989 the fee was $1,800.00, in 1996 $2,442.00. In 1997 the changed HECS schedule placed the Course in Band 3 and charged $5,600.00 for the six month course.

In 1996 DEET requested universities to review funding arrangements in place for non-research postgraduate courses. As a consequence, postgraduate coursework programs were required to find alternative sources of funding. Around Australia, other institutions responsible for practical legal training found it necessary to review their situation in the light of discontinued DEET funding. Some were forced out of the parental relationship with their founding university/college whilst others continued to fight annually for funding.

In 1998, as a result of the University of Tasmania no longer wishing to provide the then Legal Practice Course because of withdrawal of Commonwealth funding for postgraduate courses, the Centre for Legal Studies Ltd was established. This is a company limited by guarantee, the board members of which are one nominee from the Board of Legal Education, and two nominees of each of the Law Society of Tasmania and the University of Tasmania. It is effectively a joint venture of the Law Society and the University. Given the absence of available funding from any organisation or institution, the Course was only able to operate in 1998 by way of an up-front fee paid by the trainees who attended it.

In 1999 the University was able to include the Course within its regime again, and this position continues today. The Course now culminates in a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice awarded by the University of Tasmania and a Board of Legal Education Certificate awarded by the Board of Legal Education. The management and instructional functions are, however, contracted to the Centre for Legal Studies Ltd whose sole function is to conduct the Course.

Since 2010 the Course has been offered to eligible students as a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) course, meaning that fees are now HECS-based.

In 2010 the CFLS Board resolved to change the name of the Course from Professional Legal Training Program to Tasmanian Legal Practice Course (TLPC). This became effective in 2011 and the name of the Course remains the same today.

Since 1999 there have been many structural changes to the Course and there has been a great deal of development and refinement of its unit/module content and teaching methods. A major review of the Course occurred in 2008 and 2009 which saw changes to the structure, assessment and presentation of the Course in 2009. The Course continues to be reviewed with changes and new components introduced annually.

Centre for Legal Studies Ltd is a member of the Australasian Professional Legal Education Council (APLEC) and the Course is conducted in accordance with the National Competency Standards (NCS) required by that body of its members. A review of the NCS was completed by APLEC in 2013. As a result revised NCS commenced on 1 January 2015 (NCS 2015). CFLS has adopted the NCS 2015 and designed the Course to ensure that it complies with the standards in all respects.