The Practical Legal Training Course (Onsite & Online)

Leo Cussen Centre for Law offers a course of practical legal training for LLB graduates (or equivalent) leading to admission to the legal profession as an Australian Lawyer. All law graduates must complete practical legal training as a prerequisite for admission to the legal profession. This training can be undertaken either as ‘supervised legal training’ known as Traineeships (VIC) or Articled Clerkships (WA), or in a course such as the Leo Cussen Practical Legal Training Course.

Leo Cussen Centre for Law has been providing practical legal training since 1974. Its course leading to the Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice is approved by the Victorian Legal Admissions Board and the Legal Practice Board of WA, and is recognised by the legal profession as providing comprehensive and quality training. The course is delivered in both an onsite and online (blended learning) mode. The online course is also offered part time.

  • How to Apply

    Please complete your application online via our Apply Now page. If you are unable to complete your application online, please phone 03 9602 3111 or email pltadmin@leocussen.edu.au and we can arrange to send you a hard copy.

  • Eligibility

    Academic: You are eligible to commence the Practical Legal Training Course (PLT) if you have completed all the requirements of the LLB or equivalent from an Australian approved law school (and be qualified to graduate).

    You may apply to the PLT while you are completing your final law degree subjects. Offers are then made conditional on you providing evidence that you have completed the requirements of the degree. A completing law student who has a summer school subject or a supplementary exam where the results will not be available until after the course commences is eligible to apply and to commence if offered a place. In Victoria, a law student who at commencement of the course has one or two elective subjects outstanding may be eligible to commence the course. Students in this position may apply by the due date. However, they must make a Concurrent Study Application to the Victorian Legal Admissions Board for approval to commence PLT before completion of their law degree.

    Evidence of approval must be provided to Leo Cussen before the commencement of the Practical Legal Training Course. Applicants who wish to discuss their situation should contact the Administrator PLT, Tania Plant: pltadmin@leocussen.edu.au.

    See Selection Criteria and Procedures.

    Residency: You must have a residency status permitting you to reside and study in Australia.

    Overseas Students on student visas may only be eligible to apply for the Onsite course. Overseas Students on other forms of visa may be eligible to apply for the Online course subject to the conditions of their visa. See International/Overseas Applicants, Course Fees and Selection Criteria and Procedures.

    All applicants: please note that as (a) the course amounts to a single unit of study and (b) entrants to the legal profession require currency in legal practice, prior course credit (or Recognition of Prior Learning) is not typically granted.

    If you are an Overseas Qualified or Requalifying Lawyer/Legal Practitioner seeking admission, you must first seek guidance/approval from the relevant state admitting authority before applying to the Leo Cussen Practical Legal Training Course.

    Practitioners seeking single topic training may be eligible for Traineeship or Articled Clerk Programs, or may be interested in Essential Workshops.

  • Attendance

    Victorian training is delivered at the Leo Cussen Centre for Law, 360 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne. West Australian training is delivered at the QV1 Tower, 250 St Georges Terrace, Perth.

    Onsite: The Onsite PLT course is done over 24 weeks. This comprises 21 weeks’ formal training and three weeks’ professional placement (done during the last three weeks of the course). Full-time attendance is required from 9am to 5pm each day. You are provided with onsite workspace with other trainees at the Centre for the duration of the course. The Onsite course provides one-on-one mentor support and feedback.

    Online: The Online PLT is a blended learning course with a combination of online and onsite activities. For Victorian trainees, the course is done over 24 weeks, including three weeks’ professional placement. Western Australian trainees are required by the Legal Practice Board of WA to undertake 15 weeks’ professional placement. Professional placement may be undertaken during the formal training period. Applicants for the online course must have proficiency in email and internet applications, reasonable access to such resources, and an aptitude for successful learning via online delivery modes. A minimum of 25 hours per week is the expected commitment for the full-time Online course and 12-15 hours per week for the part-time Online course. Attendance for Online PLT Trainees is required onsite for an equivalent of 13 face-to-face contact days. The Online course provides intensive one-on-one mentor support and feedback.

    For further information on attendance see our FAQs.

  • Application and Course Dates 2017
    Course Dates 2017

    Onsite PLT 1 (30 January to 7 July)

    Apply by

    5pm on 18 November 2016

    Offers made

    25 November 2016

    Course Dates 2017

    Online PLT 1 (30 January to 20 June)

    Apply by

    5pm on 18 November 2016

    Offers made

    25 November 2016

    Course Dates 2017

    Online WA PLT (13 March to 28 July)

    Apply by

    5pm on 23 January 2017

    Offers made

    31 January 2017

    Course Dates 2017

    Part-Time Online PLT (30 Jan to 24 Nov)

    Apply by

    5pm on 18 November 2016

    Offers made

    25 November 2016

    Course Dates 2017

    Onsite PLT 2 (10 July to 15 December)

    Apply by

    5pm on 12 May 2017

    Offers made

    19 May 2017

    Course Dates 2017

    Online PLT 2 (10 July to 24 November)

    Apply by

    5pm on 12 May 2017

    Offers made

    19 May 2017

    Acknowledgment of receipt of online application will be sent via email. Applicants will gain no advantage by early submission of their application, but, for administrative convenience, please do not leave your application until the last minute. No fees or charges apply to late applications. Late applications will be placed on a wait list and considered in order of receipt.

  • Course Fees 2017

    The fees applicable to specific categories of students are:

    1. All Overseas Students (CRICOS Provider Code: 02224A): $14,750.00
    2. Onsite Practical Legal Training Course domestic students: $9,950.00
    3. Online Practical Legal Training Course domestic students: $9,500.00
    4. Online Part Time Practical Legal Training Course domestic students: $9,650.00

    A part tuition fee of $500.00 (or a completed Request for FEE-HELP Assistance Form) is required to constitute an acceptance of an offer. The balance of the full tuition fee for Non FEE-HELP applicants is payable in full no later than two weeks before the commencement of the relevant course (the enrolment date).

    If you expect to have difficulty in paying the fee, then you should discuss the matter with the Director PLT at the time of acceptance of offer. Course fees are reviewed every six months and may be subject to increase or decrease from course to course.

  • Additional Fees

    Incidental fees are charged principally as a fine or penalty and imposed as a disincentive and not in order to raise revenue or cover administrative costs – as per 8.5.1 (d) of the Higher Education Provider Guidelines under the Higher Education Support Act 2003.

    Fee type

    Withdrawal Penalty (prior to Census Date)

    Cost

    $500

    Fee type

    Transfer from Online to Onsite / Onsite to Online

    Cost

    $300

    Fee type

    Replacement of Materials (reference and coursework)

    Cost

    $20 per individual set $300 full set

    Fee type

    Replacement of lost keys and print/copy card

    Cost

    $10 per item

  • Payment Options

    FEE-HELP

    FEE-HELP is available for PLT applicants. However, please note that FEE-HELP is available only if you are an Australian citizen or a student on a permanent humanitarian visa. If you are an overseas practitioner on a permanent visa for the purposes of bridging study, then you are NOT eligible for FEE-HELP for the PLT course.

    For eligible students, the tuition fee can be fully or partially covered by FEE-HELP. If you are not an Australian citizen or do not have a permanent humanitarian visa, then you will be required to pay the tuition fee upfront. All applicants wishing to access FEE-HELP loans must return a Request for FEE- HELP Assistance Form with their acceptance of offer (electronic versions of this form are acceptable). FEE-HELP forms will be emailed to applicants with the Offer Letter. Hard copies can also be posted by request to pltadmin@leocussen.edu.au.

    After you apply for FEE-HELP, if you disagree with a decision about re-crediting or remitting then please read the Centre’s FEE-HELP Review Procedures.

    Overseas Students

    Overseas students may pay the course fee of $14,750 by instalments. However, an application for permission to pay the fee by instalments must be made in writing to the Director PLT no later than two weeks before the commencement of the course (the enrolment date).

    Payments may be made by direct deposit, bank cheque/money order or credit card.

  • Census Dates

    The Census Date is that immediately after which the full tuition fee for the PLT course accrues as a debt. In other words, any refund after this date is unlikely. The date falls approximately one fifth (20%) into the course. The Census Date applies to both Non-FEE-HELP and FEE-HELP applicants. The Census Dates for the 2017 Victorian courses are 28 February (PLT1) and 08 August (PLT2). The Census Date for the Online Part Time 2017 Practical Legal Training Course is 04 April 2017. The Census Date for the 2017 WA Online course is 10 April 2017.

    • Non FEE-HELP Student: withdrawal after the Census Date means the full tuition fee is owed to Leo Cussen Centre for Law. Special circumstances may apply in limited cases. When applicable, the Centre follows a procedure similar to that for FEE-HELP students.
    • FEE-HELP Student: withdrawal after the Census Date by a FEE-HELP student means the full tuition fee is debited from your FEE-HELP balance. Essentially, the full debt becomes owed to the Australian Government and is payable through the Australian Taxation Office. ‘Special circumstances’ as defined by the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (Cth) may apply in limited cases. For ‘special circumstances’ to apply, Leo Cussen Centre for Law must be satisfied that such circumstances were (a) beyond your control and (b) did not make their full impact until or after the Census Date and (c) were such that they made it impracticable for you to complete your study requirements.

    Please see Census dates and EFTSL values for 2017 on our Course Dates and Fees page. Refer also to studyassist.gov.au/sites/StudyAssist/

  • Withdrawal Penalty (prior to Census Date)

    A Withdrawal Penalty applies to all students who withdraw after acceptance of offer but before the Census Date. The student is held personally liable for the Withdrawal Penalty and eligible FEE-HELP students are warned that the liability to pay this charge is a personal one payable to the Centre and is not subject to payment via the usual FEE HELP procedures. The Withdrawal Penalty applies equally to both FEE-HELP and Non FEE-HELP students.

    ‘Acceptance of offer’ means:

    • Non FEE-HELP Student: when an eligible applicant accepts the offer of a place in the course in writing and pays a Part Tuition Payment of $500.00. Leo Cussen Centre for Law deems acceptance to be at the time we receive the applicant’s acceptance in writing and the $500.00.
    • FEE-HELP Student: when an eligible applicant accepts the offer of a place in the course in writing and completes, signs and submits a Request for FEE- HELP Assistance form. Leo Cussen Centre for Law deems acceptance to be at the time we receive the applicant’s acceptance in writing and the signed Request for FEE-HELP Assistance form.

    Payments may be made by direct deposit, bank cheque/money order or credit card.

  • Refunds

    Students withdrawing between an ‘acceptance of offer’ and the Census Date are entitled to a refund of their tuition fees (FEE-HELP balance is not debited until immediately after the Census Date), subject to the Centre’s Withdrawal Penalty set out above.

  • Selection Criteria and Procedures

    The prerequisite for admission to the Practical Legal Training Course is satisfactory completion of LLB degree or equivalent from an ‘approved law teaching institution’, which includes all Australian institutions that offer an approved course of study. Applicants must have completed the requirements of the degree or equivalent prior to the commencement date of the course enrolled in. See the Eligibility information at the top of this page.

    The degree should include all the academic subjects required for admission in the relevant state. A completing law student who has a summer school subject or a supplementary exam where the results will not be available until after the course commences is eligible to apply to the PLT and to commence if offered a place. A law student seeking to do the PLT course and gain admission in Victoria who at commencement of the course has one or two elective subjects outstanding, may be eligible to commence the course. The Legal Practice Board of WA does not make this option available to law students seeking to do the PLT and gain admission in Western Australia.

    Applicants in this position may apply by the due date. However, they must make a Concurrent Study Application to the Victorian Legal Admissions Board for approval to commence PLT before completion of their law degree.

    Evidence of approval must be provided to Leo Cussen before the commencement of the Practical Legal Training Course. Applicants who wish to discuss their situation should contact the Administrator PLT, Tania Plant: pltadmin@leocussen.edu.au.

    All applicants who meet the prerequisites are eligible for a place in the Practical Legal Training Course. Overseas Students (student visas) may only be eligible to apply for the Onsite course. Overseas Students on other forms of visas may be eligible to apply for the Online course subject to the conditions of their visa. Applicants to the Online course must demonstrate a capacity to study online, to commit to the hours required and to onsite attendance requirements.

    First preference may be given to applicants who meet the prerequisites at the time of application or are completing the prerequisites in:

    • Semester 2, 2016, for applications to PLT Intake 1, 2017 (VIC & WA) and Part Time Online PLT
    • Semester 1, 2017, for applications to PLT Intake 2, 2017

    Consideration is then given to applicants completing the prerequisites in summer/winter school and other applicants. If the number of applications exceeds available places in each course, then selection is by ballot.

  • International/Overseas Applicants

    Overseas Students

    If you are an Overseas Student on a student visa who has graduated from an approved Australian ‘law teaching institution’, then you may only be eligible for the Onsite PLT. Overseas Students on other forms of visas may be eligible to apply for the Online course subject to the conditions of their visa. See Course Fees. Australian law supports and promotes quality education and consumer protection for Overseas Students through the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) framework. For more information, go to our International Students page.

    Information about living in Australia, including indicative costs of living and accommodation options, can be found on the Study in Australia website.

    As the prerequisite for the Course is graduation in law from an approved Australian ‘law teaching institution’, it is expected that Overseas Students will have greater English language proficiency than that required of entrants to undergraduate law courses. As a guide, Overseas Students are expected to have a proficiency of greater than 6.5 overall, with no individual band less than 6.0, as determined by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

    Overseas Qualifications

    If you are an Overseas Practitioner or have obtained your law degree at an overseas university, then you must obtain a determination from the admitting authority in your state about any requirements for admission to the legal profession. If such a determination requires you to complete further academic study at university level, you will generally complete this before doing the PLT course. If such a determination requires you to complete a course of Practical Legal Training, then you may apply to Leo Cussen Centre for Law to complete the PLT. However, before you apply for a determination from the relevant admitting authority, you are encouraged to check the Uniform Principles for Assessing Qualifications of Overseas Applicants to the Australian Legal Profession.

    Victorian Legal Admissions Board
    Ground Floor
    451 Little Bourke St
    Melbourne VIC 3000
    Tel: (03) 9604 2451
    Email: vlab@justice.vic.gov.au
    www.lawadmissions.vic.gov.au 

    Legal Practice Board of WA 
    5th Floor, Kings Building
    533 Hay St
    Perth WA 6000
    Tel: (08) 6211 3600
    Email: general@lpbwa.com
    www.lpbwa.org.au/Becoming-A-Lawyer/Admissions-Requirements

  • Available Places

    There are generally 140 places available in each Onsite course and 120 places available in each full time Online course. In 2017, 25 places are available in the Part Time Online PLT Course.

    Twenty-five places in each Onsite PLT are reserved for Overseas Students. Employer Sponsored Places (ESP) and hardship places are also available.

  • Notification of Place (Offer) and Acceptance of Place
    • Successful applicants are notified by email with a specified acceptance date
    • Confirmation of acceptance must be received by the acceptance date and enclose:

    – Outstanding documentation (refer Application Form)

    – Part Tuition payment of $500 OR

    – Completed Request for FEE-HELP Assistance form

    • If acceptance is not received by the acceptance date, then the place will be offered to an applicant on the Wait List.

    Please ensure someone is authorised to accept an offer immediately on your behalf if you are not able to do this yourself.

  • Wait List and Guaranteed Places

    If you do not obtain a place in the course of your choice, then you are placed on a wait list. Please keep your contact details up to date with us so that we may contact you at short notice if a place becomes available. Second and third round offers are generally made and may be made up to commencement date.

    Up to 20 places in PLT2 are reserved for unsuccessful PLT1 applicants. If there are over 20 applicants in this category, then selection for the 20 places is by ballot.

  • Failed University Subjects after Applying for PLT

    If, after an acceptance of offer, the applicant subsequently discovers they have failed a subject or subjects in their law degree (or equivalent) and the applicant has therefore failed to meet the Centre’s selection criteria, then the applicant’s place in the course is generally forfeited. The applicant will receive a refund of any part tuition payments they have already made.

    Please note that the applicant will generally be subject to the Centre’s Withdrawal Penalty. However, this policy may be waived by the Director PLT if it is clear that the applicant has promptly notified the Centre of their situation and their initial application objectively appears to have been made in good faith.

    The applicant will usually be required to produce a transcript of results as proof of their failure. However, this requirement may also be waived at the discretion of the Director PLT.

    NOTE: An applicant may be permitted to continue in the PLT while completing the final law degree subject. Applicants should contact the Director PLT to discuss this option.

  • Deferral

    Applicants wishing to defer should first carefully read the PLT Deferral, Transfer, Suspension and Cancellation Policy and Procedure and contact the PLT Administrator before making an application.

    A summary of the Deferral component of the policy is as follows: The applicant must:

    1. be an ‘eligible deferee’ by having been offered a place in the Centre’s PLT and;
    2. demonstrate compassionate or compelling circumstances (e.g. illness where a medical certificate states that the eligible deferee/trainee is unable to attend classes, family, travel, economic issues or other matters) and;
    3. submit a written Deferral Application to the Director PLT.

    A Deferral Application must be in writing and addressed to the Director PLT. It may be emailed to: pltadmin@leocussen.edu.au. Applications will be considered by the Director PLT, who will respond promptly.

    Applicants for Deferral should note that tuition fees may increase from year to year and they will be liable to pay the fee applicable at the time of enrolment.

    Overseas Student deferrals (and suspension or cancellation of enrolments) are made in compliance with Standard 13 of the National Code 2007.

  • Transfer and Exit Prior to Completion

    As the entire Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice (Practical Legal Training) is a single unit Equivalent Full Time Student Load (EFTSL) completed within twenty-one weeks (full time) plus professional placement, it is not possible to transfer into the PLT from another Registered Provider once the course has commenced. Nor is it possible to transfer out of the PLT with any relevant EFTSL completion before completion of the course.

    The entire PLT comprises a single unit EFTSL because the PLT is a course that prepares law graduates for admission to the legal profession and eligibility for ‘admission’ is an indissoluble concept. A lawyer is either admitted to the legal profession or not based on their satisfactory completion of the entire complement of Practical Legal Training under the Legal Profession Uniform Admission Rules 2015.

    Trainees exiting prior to the completion of the course do so subject to the Important Information for Applicants on the centre’s website including: Payment Options, Census Dates, Withdrawal Penalty, Refunds, Deferral, and the Complaints Policy and Procedure.

  • Living Allowances (Austudy and Youth): the PLT is a full-time course

    Commonwealth tertiary education assistance in the form of payment of means-tested living allowances is normally available to full time PLT students on the same basis as to undergraduates.

  • Part-time Work or Study

    Part-time work or study must not interfere with full-time attendance at the Course or with the quality of the student’s work.

    Applicants are encouraged to discuss any particular concerns with the Director PLT.

  • Onsite Computers

    A computer lab is provided onsite at the Melbourne campus for the use of PLT students. However, Leo Cussen strongly recommends students bring and use their own laptop computers. A wireless network operates within the training areas, giving access to the intranet and online learning environment.