Insurance

The Insurance Arrangements are governed by the Legal Profession Act 2008, the Legal Profession Regulations 2009 and the Master Policy.

The Law Society is required to publish details of the Insurance Arrangements to Law Practices and Practitioners (Regulation 84(3)). This is specified in the Annual Information Booklet which is released prior to the commencement of the new insurance year.

Neither the Law Society nor Law Mutual WA is regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). The Law Society has been granted an exemption on the basis that it is not an insurer – it only arranges insurance as required under the Legal Profession Act 2008.

The Law Society arranges insurance for Law Practices. Law Practices are issued with a Certificate on behalf of the Underwriters. This is evidenced by an insurance certificate provided to Law Practices. The terms and conditions of the Certificate are Schedule 1 to the Master Policy.

Ceased Law Practices and former practitioners previously insured through Law Mutual (WA) are also entitled to cover under the Master Policy in respect of professional indemnity claims arising from the practice of law during their previous periods of insurance through Law Mutual (WA).

The Certificates are issued in the Law Practice’s legal name and not their trading name (if it differs from the legal name). The certificates are not issued in the names of individual practitioners. Who is ‘insured’ is set out in the definition section of the Certificate of Insurance.

In summary, subject to the terms of the Master Policy, the Insurance Arrangements cover the Law Practice, its current and past partners/directors along with its current and past employees, for claims notified during the Insurance Year. The amount payable by Law Practices is comprised of 2 components:

  1. the Annual Contribution (Regulation 92), and
  2. the Administration Levy (Regulation 102).

2017/18 FORMS

Form A – Sole Practitioners and Partnerships

Complete and submit Form A if you are classified as sole practitioner or partner for insurance purposes and you expect to be above the low fee earner threshold of $100,000 during an insurance year.

Form B – Low Fee Earners

Complete and submit Form B if you are a sole practitioner or an incorporated legal practice and you estimate that you will earn less than $100,000 in gross legal fees for the entire insurance year. You will be entitled to concessional annual contribution rates based on your level of income.

Conditions apply depending on who you can employ and discounts you are entitled to.

Form C – Incorporated Legal Practice

Complete and submit Form C if your law practice is structured as an incorporated entity.

An incorporated legal practice is a corporation (typically a company within the meaning of the Corporations Act) that provides legal services and that may provide other services in addition to legal services.

Form 1A – Additional Practitioner

Complete and submit Form 1A when a practitioner joins or commences work at a firm during the insurance year other than renewal period

2016/17 FORMS

Form A – Sole Practitioners and Partnerships

Complete and submit Form A if you are classified as sole practitioner or partner for insurance purposes and you expect to be above the low fee earner threshold of $50,000 during an insurance year.

Form B – Low Fee Earners

Complete and submit Form B if you are a sole practitioner or an incorporated legal practice and you estimate that you will earn less than $50,000 in gross legal fees for the entire insurance year. You will be entitled to concessional annual contribution rates based on your level of income. See our Annual information booklet.

Conditions apply depending on who you can employ and discounts you are entitled to.

Form C – Incorporated Legal Practice

Complete and submit Form C if your law practice is structured as an incorporated entity.

An incorporated legal practice is a corporation (typically a company within the meaning of the Corporations Act) that provides legal services and that may provide other services in addition to legal services.

Form 1A – Additional Practitioner

Complete and submit Form 1A when a practitioner joins or commences work at a firm during the insurance year other than renewal period.

Low Fee Earner - Statutory Declaration Form

An low fee earner must submit a statutory declaration to Law Mutual (WA) by 30 September following the end of the insurance year.

Notification of Exemption

Complete and submit the online form if you are a practitioner who is entitled to an exemption pursuant to Regulation 97(1) (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) or (h).

Frequently Asked Questions

I want to renew my Insurance Arrangements?

Details about renewing your Insurance Arrangements can be found in the Annual Information Booklet.

Do I have to complete an insurance application?

Under the Legal Profession Act 2008 the Law Society of Western Australia is required to make professional indemnity insurance arrangements for practitioners and former practitioners.  Under the Legal Profession Regulations 2009, the Law Society is required to enter into professional indemnity insurance arrangements with one or more insurers for the provision of professional indemnity insurance for practitioners and former practitioners.

If your law practice does not have a professional indemnity insurance arrangements in place by 1 July each year, the Legal Practice Board will not be able to issue you, or the solicitors who work at your law practice, with a Practising Certificates for that year.

How do I arrange Insurance with Law Mutual (WA)?

Application forms can be found on this website. If you are unsure about your structure, please refer to our annual information booklet.

How do I submit a Notification of Exemption from Law Mutual (WA)'s professional indemnity insurance arrangements?

From the 1st of July 2016 the Law Society will administer the submission of the Notification of Exemption Forms. An administration Levy of $75 (inclusive of GST) is chargeable to each practitioner to cover the costs of processing Notifications, as it is entitled to do so by Regulation 102 of the Regulations.

However, the charge will be waived for the following categories of practitioners:

  • Financial members of the Law Society of Western Australia
  • Employees of a Community Legal Centre, Legal Aid Commission and Aboriginal Legal Service (as defined in the Legal Profession Act 2008 and prescribed in Schedule 2 of the Regulations)
  • Those claiming exemption under 97(h)

You will need to submit the form via the following link notification of exemption form.

When should I complete my insurance application?

For renewing law practices, we will email to advise you that your renewal for the forthcoming year is due. This is usually in February and March, you will then need to submit a completed and signed renewal form applicable to your law practice.

If you are a new firm you will need to complete the respective application form and return to our office at least seven business days before the commencement date of insurance cover. For further information please refer to new insurance application.

What happens if there are changes to my firm during the year?

You will need to notify Law Mutual (WA) as soon as possible when there are changes to your firm.  A brief description for each form can be found on New Applications and Change in Circumstances page.

New insurance application or a change in your circumstances?

If during an insurance year you commence a new practice, restructure or have changes in practitioners please notify Law Mutual (WA).

Read more

How much is my premium and are discounts applicable?

Information can be found in our annual information booklet based upon your classification, criteria and circumstances

If you require further information regarding an insurance quote, you can contact Law Mutual (WA) on (08) 9481 3111 or email info@lawmutualwa.com.au

What happens if I fail to renew my insurance by the 15 May deadline?

Regulation 89 of the Legal Profession Regulations 2009 imposes a late lodgement penalty of 10%, where law practices have not paid the insurance contribution by the annual 15 May deadline. The Law Society can waive payment of the late lodgment fee in whole or part at its discretion.  It has developed a policy to ensure fairness and consistency in the exercise of this discretion.

If I forget to renew my insurance arrangement can I back date my period of cover?

Law Mutual (WA) is not obliged to backdate cover; this remains a discretion to be exercised by us in appropriate circumstances.

My circumstances have changed, am I entitled to a refund?

The Certificate of Insurance cannot be cancelled and is not transferrable.

If Law Mutual (WA) was notified before 30 June in that respective insurance year of a partner/director or an employed practitioner leaving a law practice, a refund may be provided if a practice certificate has not been issued for forthcoming year.  No refunds are payable by Law Mutual (WA) where notification is received after 30 June of the respective insurance year.

No refunds are paid for employed practitioners, partners or directors who leave the firm after 30 June of the respective insurance year.

For more information on refunds, please refer to our annual Information booklet.

I’m a consultant/mediator/migration agent/settlement agent. Do I need insurance?

The Law Mutual (WA) policy only covers you for the legal work that you undertake in your role. Any non-legal work is not covered.  You will need to determine if the work you undertake in your role is legal work. The definition of Legal work can be found in the Legal Profession Act 2008.

If I employ a consultant, are they covered under my Law Mutual (WA) PII policy?

The title ‘consultant’ is used in many different contexts by lawyers and does not necessarily refer to an independent contractor who is providing consultancy services to the law practice. Under the Law Mutual (WA) professional indemnity insurance arrangements, a consultant who is determined by us to be an employee of a law practice is covered, whereas an independent contractor is not.

Typically, an independent contractor will be an individual who is not supervised, whose contact with clients is not controlled and whose work is not authorised by the principals or management of the law practice.

For more information on consultants and professional indemnity insurance arrangements, please refer to our annual Information booklet.

Can I fund my insurance premiums elsewhere?

Yes, premium funding facilities are available and further information can be found at Paying Your Premium.

I’ve paid my insurance with Law Mutual (WA), when do I get my Practice Certificate?

The Legal Practice Board will be notified electronically on the following business day after your payment has been cleared and receipted.

Law Mutual (WA) has no responsibility over the issuing of Practising Certificates. You will need to contact the Legal Practice Board directly in respect to practising certificates on (08) 6211 3600.