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German Referendar Program

Due to Australia’s border closures, as a result of COVID-19, we are temporarily unable to offer placements with the Referendar program.

The German Referendar Program offers successful participants the opportunity to be placed in a dynamic team within the Attorney-General's Department in Canberra.

Your experience as a participant in this program will enable you to learn about the Australian legal system, the operation of the Australian Government and will provide you with policy development and legislative experience 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.

Canberra is Australia's capital. It is the seat of Australia's Federal Parliament and the High Court of Australia and home to the majority of government departments and agencies.

Program participants will be invited to attend parliamentary proceedings and potentially a High Court hearing as an observer. Your referendar experience will provide you with a good understanding of how parliamentary and judicial scrutiny of Australian laws operates in practice. These experiences are designed to provide participants with a comprehensive immersion into Australia's common law tradition.

You will also be invited to share information about your own legal system 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 will be placed in the Private International and Commercial Law Section within the Legal System Branch. Depending on the current priorities of the Branch, you may be asked to assist other teams where required.

If you are interested in a placement, send your application to 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. ​

Contact details

German Referendar Program
Attorney-General's Department
3-5 National Circuit BARTON ACT 2600 AUSTRALIA