CPD requirements and guidance

Please note that during February 2017 we will be carrying out random CPD checks among members requesting proof of CPD carried out for the practice year 2015/16. We’re grateful for members’ cooperation in carrying out this important check.

Since 2011, members self-certify their CPD compliance. Generally, all those applying for a practising certificate should declare their compliance on the practising certificate application form issued at renewal or on request. Members who have failed to comply or who seek exemption should supply details of their non-compliance or exempt status in the additional information box on the form.

Members should retain details of their attendance at courses in compliance for a minimum of two years to facilitate checking of self-certification.
For more information, please see (a) the CPD Requirements and Guidance document (b) the CPD Handbook (which incorporates Frequently Asked Questions). The minimum number of hours that solicitors require to undertake per annum is 20 hours.

The executive summary of key changes is:

  • The range of activities recognised for CPD has been extended, focusing on relevance, competence and enhancement of skills and compliance with the Society's conduct and service standards. These additional activities include structured coaching (such as one-to-one coaching or mentoring) and online training.
  • The requirement to undertake a minimum of 15 hours' group study no longer applies. There are now no group study requirements. Solicitors may undertake as many hours of group CPD as they feel appropriate but there is no set minimum level.
  • Of their 20 minimum hours, solicitors will require to undertake a minimum of 15 hours of verifiable CPD.
  • The restriction on the amount of personal study allowed has been removed.
  • A maximum of five hours' private study remains. However, the relaxation of the types of online and distance learning and the relaxation of the requirement to undertake 15 hours' group study means that solicitors can undertake far more personal study if they so wish.
  • The requirement to undertake annual management CPD has been removed.
  • The option of carrying back CPD hours will no longer be permitted.
  • The option of carrying forward CPD hours will no longer be permitted.
  • The restrictions on the types of distance learning and online learning have been relaxed. Rather than be prescriptive about how such courses are undertaken, whether an online or distance learning course is relevant will be for an individual solicitor to decide using their professional judgment.
  • Formal pro-rata concessions for part-time work, locum work, unemployment and sabbatical leave will no longer be permitted.
  • All solicitors will be required to plan, record and evaluate their annual CPD. Solicitors are encouraged to log the plan and record on the Society's website via their solicitors' login. Solicitors will be required to demonstrate that they have (i) identified their learning needs (ii) planned CPD activity to address those needs (iii) undertaken relevant CPD (iv) evaluated and justified the CPD activity, what was learnt, and how the lessons of the CPD activity can be put into practice.

If you have any queries on this matter please contact legaleduc@lawscot.org.uk.

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