Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme

Establishment of Scheme

The Law Society operates the Legal Practitioners Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme pursuant to s 52 of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981. A copy of the current Scheme document is available here.

Requirement to Participate

All practising certificates are issued subject to the requirement to satisfy the insurance obligations under section 19 of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981. That section can be satisfied in two ways:
  • by participating in the Legal Practitioners Professional Indemnity Scheme:
    • either personally making a contribution (Low Income Sole Practitioners and Barristers); or
    • being employed by a law practice that has made a contribution.
  • by being exempt from contributing to the Scheme, exempt practitioners are currently those who:
    • are employed by a government department and only provide legal services to that employer; or
    • are employed by an entity that is not a law practice as defined by the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 and not exercising a right of private practice.
Any exempt practitioner who practises outside of their corporate or government role must first make a contribution to the professional indemnity insurance scheme and receive a certificate of insurance. If this is not done, the practitioner’s practising certificate is automatically suspended by operation of law. The practitioner would then be practising without insurance and without a valid practising certificate and may be the subject of disciplinary proceedings.

Conveyancers are also required to participate in the Scheme. If a practitioner or practice employs a conveyancer, that conveyancer may be eligible for an exemption, depending on the nature of their ordinary work. You can download a Form D which details the eligibility criteria.

Reduction in Contribution

Certain practitioners are eligible to make a reduced contribution to the Scheme. Those practitioners are required to lodge an application and make certain undertakings about their practice. The undertakings are designed to ensure that all practitioners are adequately insured at all times. Each form contains the relevant eligibility criteria. The relevant forms are:
  • Low Income Sole Practitioners – Form E
  • Barristers – Form F

Additional Insurance

Practitioners may wish to take out ‘top-up’ insurance to increase the amount of cover provided by the Scheme (currently $2,000,000). There is no requirement to use any particular insurer for this purpose, however you are welcome to contact the Society’s brokers, Arthur J Gallagher. They are able to provide advice on, and arrange, top-up Professional Indemnity Insurance and hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL 227017). Contact Will Laundy at Gallagher on (08) 8172 8141 for further information.

Further Enquiries

If you have any further queries, contact the Ethics and Practice Unit at ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au or (08) 8229 0200.