Frequently Asked Questions
Note: Funding for the Regional, Rural and Remote Practical Legal Training Project ended in December 2016. The project is no longer accepting applications. All students that applied prior to this time have been placed. NACLC is currently reviewing the program and considering options for its continuation. To read more about the Project's wind down, please click here.
What is regional, rural or remote?
There is no standard definition. In a general sense the term ‘regional, rural and remote’ or RRR includes all areas in Australia outside the capital cities or ‘metropolitan’ Australia.
The Australian Government uses the ARIA+ index which categorises communities as either major city, inner regional, outer regional, remote or very remote. If you are interested in which category your preferred community is in, try this link http://www.doctorconnect.gov.au/internet/otd/publishing.nsf/Content/locator
In practice, our project encourages applicants to consider placements in ‘remote’ areas such as Katherine (NT) and Kununurra (WA) however we also place in ‘outer regional’ areas such as Kalgoorlie, Geraldton (WA) Cairns and Townsville (Qld). Many legal services are based in inner regional areas such as Bendigo (Vic), Albury Wodonga (Vic/NSW border) Townsville and Toowoomba (Qld).
How long does the process take from completing the online application to starting the placement?
Sometimes we place applicants within a week. It is more usual to take several weeks. We suggest you apply as soon as you enrol in your practical legal training course and have a good idea of the dates you are able to undertake a placement.
You ask me not to apply to other legal services whilst this application is current. Why is that?
We understand you are keen to arrange a placement and that this may involve you applying to several places at once. However we need to restrict this service to those who are committed to a regional, rural or remote placement if and when it is offered. This commitment will be discussed with you by the National Placement Coordinator by email or by phone if necessary.
The publicly funded legal assistance sector is under resourced and needs to prioritise its work. We ask much from our project partners who invest valuable time in assessing your suitability and then making arrangements to offer you a place. Whilst we understand your imperative to find a placement, we restrict our service to committed applicants.
What is the process? There are six steps from application to completion
1. Completing an application: In order to complete an application select the ‘Apply Here’ button which is found at the bottom of the page for each legal assistance service. You will be asked the four threshold questions to confirm your eligibility before proceeding. You will then be directed to the online application. Some of the information will be visible from your earlier registration. This application relates to your first preference and we are interested in your flexibility to consider other legal assistance services in other geographical areas. After completing the details, we ask you to attach your current Academic Transcript and your current CV then submit.
We ask that you only submit one application at a time. If you wish to change that application, go to the left side menu to "User CP" (this refers to the user control panel). This reveals your current application and you can change the details of your application there.
2. Confirmation of complete application: Once we have received your online application you will receive an automatic receipt email, then when our National Placement Coordinator has reviewed the application, she will send you another email to confirm the application is complete. We will then email or phone you to assess your suitability for the placement and inform you of current opportunities.
3. Approaching the legal assistance service: Our National Placement Coordinator approaches your preferred legal assistance service within seven working days. If your first preference is not available we explore other options. You are informed by email at each step. If a placement is available elsewhere, we contact you to ensure you are still able to take up a placement if it is offered. Once you confirm your availability we give your documents to the legal assistance service. It usually takes one to two weeks for the service to confirm acceptance of your placement. We do our best to keep in weekly contact with the services to follow up your application.
4. Placement confirmed: Our National Placement Coordinator confirms with your nominated legal assistance service that your application is successful. You will receive an email notifying you of this as soon as practicable.
5. Applicant to liaise with legal assistance service about specific details: Following the National Placement Coordinator’s confirmation with your nominated legal assistance service we will place you in direct contact with that service so you can confirm specific details about your placement (such as dates).
6. Applicant to notify PLT RRR Project of their placement dates: When you have confirmed these details with the legal assistance service please notify us of these dates.
Placement at regional, rural or remote legal assistance services is competitive as availability is limited.
If your first preference is unavailable, the National Placement Coordinator will ask you to consider other options such as doing your placement in another part of Australia or delaying your placement till there is more availability.
Is there an application deadline?
No. You can apply at any time.
Is there an age limit?
No. The regional, rural and remote Practical Legal Training project has no restrictions on the age of applicants.
Will I be paid for my placement?
No. The placements are unpaid. They are accepted on a voluntary basis and there is no remuneration. Any time spent undertaking a voluntary, unpaid placement does not contribute to any subsequent period of emplyment (should you be later employed by the host legal service).
What about travel and accommodation arrangements and costs?
At this stage the ANU Legal Workshop is the only PLT provider which may have funding available to help offset your travel and accommodation costs. Generally the cost of travel, accommodation and other living costs will be at the expense of the applicant.
We note that in South Australia, the Law Foundation has grants of $1000 open to applicants undertaking their Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice or equivalent in a regional, rural or remote part of South Australia. It is unfortunate that this is not a practice adopted throughout Australia. We are currently researching funding possibilities for applicants undertaking their practical legal training placement in a regional, rural or remote area of Australia.
The public legal assistance services that we work with often assist applicants to find cheap accommodation to make the placement as cost effective as possible. Some applicants apply to specific areas of the country because they have family or other connections in that area.
Using our local knowledge, we do the best to help applicants find travel and accommodation services available in regional, rural or remote areas of Australia.
I have a criminal record. Do I need to disclose this to my host legal service?
Yes. We suggest disclosure of any issue which may affect your employment. You may want to discuss this with your practical legal training provider and work out a strategy which speaks to your more recent qualifications. Your behaviour illustrates your character and ultimately if you are a 'fit and proper person' to be admitted to the profession.
Many host legal services will have procedures which they ask you to follow, prior to confirming a placement. One of these may be to agree to a criminal record check. Some jurisdictions require a 'working with children' or registration as a 'safe worker with vulnerable people'.