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German Referendar Program

The German Referendar Program offers participants the opportunity to learn about the Australian legal system and to work on policy and legislative projects for up to three months.

A 'referendar' is a German trainee lawyer who, after completing university, receives two years of practical judicial and legal training before sitting a state examination for legal admission. The training can include time spent working in a foreign jurisdiction.

Program participants will learn about Australia's common law tradition and contribute to our comparative work practices while developing English language skills and broadening international expertise.

Under the supervision of experienced managers, you will have the opportunity to contribute to policy discussions, conduct specialised research and attend meetings within the department and with other government agencies as part of daily work. You may be able to attend a parliamentary sitting, follow the debate of a piece of legislation you have worked on, or attend a High Court hearing.

You will also be able to share your experience with your Australian colleagues and advise on how a civil law country—like Germany—approaches or has resolved, a legal issue.

More information about the program is available in the following brochure:

Applying for the program

You can apply for the program at any time. Offers will be made as positions become available.

Your application should include:

  • a covering letter in English that outlines why you are interested in a placement with the department and the proposed dates of your Wahlstage
  • your curriculum vitae in English
  • a copy of your First Judicial State Exam (translation not required).

You can nominate to work in areas of the department that deal with civil and commercial law issues, for example:

  • private international law
  • commercial policy
  • privacy law
  • human rights.

If you are interested in a placement, send your application to referendar@ag.gov.au or by post to:

German Referendar Program
Attorney-General's Department
Robert Garran Offices
3–5 National Circuit

We will confirm receipt of your application and may contact you to arrange an interview. Interviews will be in English and can be conducted over the phone or via Skype.

If you are successful, you will receive a letter of offer together with information about your time in the department. You will need to undergo a document-based security assessment and supply supporting documents.