Admission as a Barrister and Solicitor to the High Court of NZ
Changes to the Certificate of Character application process under COVID-19 (from NZLS Regulatory Team - published 22.04.20) "We are aware that certificate of character applicants have questions about the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the certificate of character and admission processes. The information here confirms what interim changes the New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa has made to the certificate of character application process during this time."
Completing the IPLS course does not automatically enable you to be admitted to the High Court of New Zealand.
The process for admission as a barrister and solicitor to the High Court of New Zealand is in three parts. You will need:
- A Certificate of Completion from the New Zealand Council of Legal Education (apply on completion of profs)
- A Certificate of Character from the New Zealand Law Society (apply on completion or very near to completion of profs)
- To make an application to the High Court (once you have received your Certificate of Completion and Certificate of Character).
Certificate of Completion
Once you have completed profs and received your completion certificate from IPLS, you should apply to the Council of Legal Education (http://www.nzcle.org.nz/nz_law_graduates.html) for a Certificate of Completion. The following documents need to be submitted to the Council of Legal Education:
- Application form – http://www.nzcle.org.nz/Docs/Application_form_CC_NZ.pdf
- Original academic transcript – contact your university for this
- Original evidence of completion of Ethics – if not shown on transcript
- Original evidence of completion of LLB – if not shown on transcript
- Original evidence of completion of Professional Legal Studies (to be received from IPLS)
- Original Birth Certificate
- Fee – $98.90 (incl GST)
Note please allow up to 30 working days for NZCLE process and delivery.
Certificate of Character
Once you have completed profs (or very near to completion of profs) apply to your local branch of the New Zealand Law Society for a Certificate of Character. You can find contact details for your local branch here. You should fully read and understand the requirements for applying for a Certificate of Character first. Details can be found here.
A Certificate of Character has a validity of 3 months from the date of issue and must be valid on the date of admission (not the date the application is filed). The application form for a Certificate of Character is available here.
The referee report form is available here.
Documents to be submitted to the Law Society are:
- Application form
- Certified copy of passport (please ensure that both the bio data/photo page and signature page of the passport have been certified) or original birth certificate
- Proof of any name change if applicable
- Details of employment history (in month/year to month/year order). Any gaps in employment history must be explained (e.g. holiday)
- Details of any criminal convictions, if applicable
- Request for a criminal conviction history by a third party form
- Fee – $253 (incl GST)
The processing of Certificates of Character takes some time and is very carefully calculated to ensure that your Certificate of Character is still valid at the time of admission – admission dates are set by the High Court. It is important that applications are submitted, and referee reports received, in the timeframes set out here.
A few weeks prior to the opening date for applications for a Certificate of Character, the NZLS holds “Candidate Information Meetings” to explain the process for both a Certificate of Character and for filing documents at the High Court. It is highly recommended that you attend.
Application for admission to the High Court
The dates for filing documents at the High Court for each admissions ceremony are found here.
The documents required for filing at the High Court are found here. (under the heading “If you hold a New Zealand law degree …”)