• Study law and criminology.  Photo credit: University of QueenslandStudy law and criminology. Photo credit: University of Queensland

The system of training to become a professional lawyer in Australia or New Zealand is different to that used here in the UK.

In Australia and New Zealand, the Bachelor of Laws is four years long, rather than three. Those aiming to qualify as lawyers would complete the LLB, followed by the required practical legal training. Unlike the UK, where an LLB is three years long, there is no separate 12-month vocational legal practice course (LPC) required.

Qualifying as a lawyer

The LLB is often offered as a double degree. Students have the option of taking the course in conjunction with, for example, a Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Engineering, and graduate with both degrees in a shortened period of time (usually five years).

There is also no equivalent to the UK law conversion course (CPE/GDL) in Australia or New Zealand. Graduates of other disciplines who wish to qualify as lawyers in Australia or New Zealand will need to apply for admission to an LLB (they may be eligible for academic credit or advanced standing based on their first degree) or, alternatively, to a Juris Doctor. The ‘JD’ is a postgraduate, professional-entry law degree that is three years in length. Successful completion of the JD will enable graduates to apply for admission to practice law in the state of Australia in which they have studied.

Graduates who wish to undertake postgraduate non-professional studies in law (courses which will not make them eligible to practice law in Australia or New Zealand) can look to the many Masters programmes available.

These do not necessarily require an undergraduate degree in law for admission; specialist law Masters are often suited to someone currently working in a particular field or industry. A Master of Environmental Law, for example, could be of great benefit to the career of an environmental scientist, while doctors and senior hospital administrators often undertake the Master of Health Law.

Those who have completed a law degree and who are looking to further their knowledge in a particular area would apply for the Master of Laws. This is a flexible, 12-month programme that allows a student to select from a wide range of courses to create a degree uniquely tailored to their interests and career aspirations.

If you have already qualified as a lawyer in the UK and would like to transfer to qualify in Australia or New Zealand, there are courses available to allow you to do this. Please contact a Study Options advisor for details of this process.