All solicitors and Registered European Lawyers are required to undertake a minimum of 20 hours Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in each practice year. Of those minimum 20 hours, a minimum of 15 must be verifiable CPD. Up to 5 hours may be by private study.
As well as the hours requirement solicitors are required to plan, record and reflect upon their CPD activity each year.
What are the minimum requirements?
Remember, 15 hours is a minimum, not a target
Plan your CPD
Solicitors are required to plan their annual CPD activity at the start of each practice year.
When planning solicitors should consider their individual learning needs and the sort of development that they believe they ned to undertake. Solicitors shouldn't focus unduly on dates and times (e.g. a solicitor might identify they need to undertake anti-money laundering training during a practice year. They don't need to plan the exact date they would do the training).
Record your CPD
Solicitors are required to record the CPD they undertake in a practice year. Solicitors are encouraged to record any CPD hours they undertake over and above the minimum 20 hours. Solicitors are required to reflect, and be able to evidence this reflection, upon the CPD activity they undertake.
Solicitors are encouraged to do all of this in the Members’ login area of the Society’s website.
Reflect upon your CPD
A minimum of 15 hours of CPD per annum must meet the criteria for verifiable CPD. By verifiable, the Society means that the CPD activity should meet the following criteria:
(i) Have clear aims and outcomes relevant to the solicitor’s professional development;
(ii) Provide interaction and/or the opportunity for feedback;
(iii) Be able to be evidenced; and
(iv) Is not part of a solicitor’s daily work
The preparation and delivery of training is a very effective means of learning. Solicitors involved as lecturers, tutors, or leaders in any form of relevant group study may count preparation time up to a maximum of four hours towards the verifiable CPD requirement in addition to actual presentation time e.g. an hour long presentation could count for five hours of CPD.
Private study includes the reading of relevant periodicals, journals and books. No more than five hours private study per annum can be counted towards fulfilling the requirement.
The only exception is for those solicitors who write a relevant book or an article in a periodical (which is published). In such instances, the solicitor may claim up to ten verifiable hours of the minimum 20 hours for the practice year.
Solicitors who require to undertake compulsory training other than by reason of the Society’s CPD requirements may count such training as part of the requirement for CPD in that particular practice year. This might include, but is not limited to:
Extended rights of audience: Solicitors who require to attend a training course as per Rule C.4.
Practice Management Course
Solicitors who require to attend a Practice Management Course as per Rule D.2.2
Family law mediators
Accredited Family Law Mediators are required to undertake 15 hours of CPD per annum. This must be made up of six hours of mediation training plus five hours family law training of which two requires to be on financial provisions. Solicitors are then able to make up the remaining four hours by carrying out either mediation training or family law training. Record your mediation training here.
Solicitors undertaking CPD for another professional or regulatory body (including those also qualified in another jurisdiction) when such CPD is relevant to their development as a solicitor.
The Scottish Legal Aid Board sets certain requirements for members. To assist members who have to comply with SLAB requirements this recording page may be useful.
Solicitors who require to comply with certain requirements from the Financial Services Authority may find this recording page useful.
There are a number of formal exemptions from the CPD requirements. Solicitors can also apply to the Registrar for a waiver of the requirements. Circumstances where a waiver may be considered include but are not limited to redundancy and retirement.
The following exemptions do apply:
1. Solicitors suffering long-term illness – and absent from work - for 10 weeks or more in respect of the same illness in any practice year may reduce their CPD requirement in proportion to the number of weeks worked during the practice year, rounded up to the nearest complete hour. To calculate the required number of hours, divide the number of weeks worked by 2.6 and round up to the nearest whole number (e.g. solicitors who work between 37 and 39 weeks in a practice year will require to undertake 15 hours of CPD).
2. Solicitors on maternity, paternity or adoption leave may reduce their CPD requirement in proportion to the number of weeks worked in the practice year rounded up to the nearest complete hour in accordance with the formula above.
3. Solicitors who return to practice during the practice year may reduce their CPD requirement in proportion to the number of weeks worked in the practice year rounded up to the nearest complete hour in accordance with the formula above.
4. Trainees admitted during the practice year are not required to undertake any CPD until the start of the practice year following the date on which their training contract ends (assuming that they have then been admitted and hold a Practising Certificate).
Note: In each of the first three exemptions the proportions of Verifiable CPD and private study must be reduced pro-rata.