www.nzcle.org.nz

New Zealand Council of Legal Education

 

 

 

Work of the Council

The Council is an independent statutory body. The general activities of the Council concern public interest and regulatory matters and centre on the Council's responsibilities for the quality and provision of education and practical legal training that is required to be undertaken by any person either within New Zealand or from overseas wishing to be admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.

These general activities include:

  • Defining and prescribing courses of study for the examination and practical legal training of persons wishing to be admitted as barristers and solicitors in New Zealand
  • Arranging for the provision of those courses of study
  • Arranging for the moderation and assessment of those courses of study
  • Delivery of practical legal training
  • Assessment of qualifications particularly those of overseas law graduates and legal practitioners wishing to practise in New Zealand
  • Arranging for the provision of research as necessary, and tendering advice on legal education
  • Administering and conducting certain examinations required to be taken by some overseas and other applicants.

NZLPE - Removal of Temporary Covid-19 measures − Overseas venues

Prior to the disruptions of COVID-19, examinations (as per regulations) were either sat in New Zealand or in one venue in the United Kingdom which was determined by the Council.

Owing to the worldwide COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Council implemented temporary measures to allow candidates who did not reside in the United Kingdom or New Zealand to sit the examinations overseas.

Due to the end to COVID-19 as a global health emergency, as of January 2024, the Council will be reverting to examinations sittings being in New Zealand and one venue in the United Kingdom which will be determined by the Council.

For any candidates who wish to take up the option, we are accepting late overseas venue applications for the November sitting. We will waive the late application fee up to 20 October 2023.

For more information about the legislation under which the Council operates, please see the About Us page


Professional Legal Studies Course: Access to Student Loans and Allowances

August 2023 Update

The recent re-classification of training providers by the Government means the Professional Legal Studies course (known as Profs) will need to be developed as a Qualification on the NZ Qualifications and Credits Framework, in order to ensure continued access to student support (loan/allowances) beyond 2024.

The New Zealand Council of Legal Education, as the statutory regulator of pre-admission legal training, has been working with the relevant government education agencies since the start of 2023 to progress this, in order to preserve the ability of students to access loans for the PLSC beyond 2024. As required by the relevant legislation, this will be progressed with the assistance and endorsement of a Workforce Development Council (WDC), Ringa Hora, being the relevant WDC for the legal profession. While WDCs were recently established as part of the Government's vocational education reforms, Ringa Hora's staff are experienced in working with NZQA and the sector.

The Council is working with Ringa Hora, and with both existing providers of the PLSC, to bring this about as smoothly and quickly as possible through the required New Zealand Qualifications Authority application process. The aim is to have this approved by NZQA and listed on the framework in sufficient time beyond the end of 2024. This is assisted by the PLSC not being a new course being developed, but being an existing a well-established course governed by the NZCLE Regulations and successfully delivered by the College of Law and Institute of Professional Legal Studies. The process through Ringa Hora involves taking that course and seeking approval for it to be listed as a 'Qualification' for the purposes of the New Zealand Qualifications and Credit Framework.

Ringa Hora has commenced the work and a meeting has already been held between them, the Council and the providers. The next phase, to take place over the next few weeks, will be for a working group to finalise a draft of the application to NZQA. Once finalised, this will be available and there will be opportunities for stakeholder feedback among the legal profession and other interested stakeholders. Expressions of interest to be involved in giving feedback on that document can be sent to qualifications@ringahora.nz, but further information will be available through Law Talk and on the Ringa Hora and NZCLE website as the process progresses.


New Tikanga Māori requirements

From 1 January 2025, the New Zealand legal education curriculum will include requirements for the teaching and assessment of Tikanga Māori |Māori Māori Laws and philosophy.

FAQs about the new requirements:

What are the new requirements?

  1. There will be a new compulsory law course on Tikanga Māori (Māori Laws and philosophy).
  2. The existing compulsory law courses will also include relevant content on tikanga Māori (Māori laws and philosophy).

 The existing compulsory law courses are:

  •   The Legal System
  •   Public Law
  •   Contracts
  •   Torts
  •   Criminal Law
  •   Property law (or Land Law and Equity and Succession)
  •   Legal Ethics

What will this mean for New Zealand law students?

If you enrolled in the LLB before 1 January 2025, you will only need to complete whatever courses your university requires to obtain the LLB. Ask your Law School if you have any questions about what this means in your situation.

If you enroll in the LLB after 1 January 2025, you will need to complete the new requirements [link to FAQ What are the new requirements] to obtain the LLB.

What will this mean for people who already hold a New Zealand law degree?

New Zealand LLB holders seeking admission to the High Court can apply to the Council for a Certificate of Completion to show they have met all the educational requirements to be a lawyer.

If you apply for a Certificate of Completion before 1 January 2025, you will not have to complete the new requirements.

If you apply for a Certificate of Completion after 1 January 2025 and your 'qualifications for admission' are current - meaning they are less than 10 years old at the time you apply - you will not have to complete the new requirements.

If you apply for a Certificate of Completion after 1 January 2025 and your 'qualifications for admission' are stale - meaning they are more than 10 years old at the time you apply - the Council may require you to complete the new compulsory law course on Tikanga Māori (Māori Laws and philosophy) (in addition to other study or training).

'Qualifications for admission' are:

  • a New Zealand LLB (or LLB with Hons)
  • any compulsory law course
  • the Professional Legal Studies Course. For more information about Stale Qualifications click here.

What will this mean for overseas lawyers and graduates?

Overseas lawyers and graduates seeking admission to the High Court of New Zealand can apply to the Council for an assessment of their qualifications.

If you apply for an assessment before 1 January 2025, you will not have to meet the new requirements, unless the Council's assessment, or the study or training you were required to complete under that assessment, have become stale - meaning they are more than 10 years old.

If you apply for an assessment after 1 January 2025, the Council may require you to complete the new compulsory law course on Tikanga Māori (Māori Laws and philosophy) (in addition to other study or training).

For more information about Overseas Law Qualifications click here.


For more information about the legislation under which the Council operates, please see the About Us page

 

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