Guidelines for compliance with CPD requirements issued under Sections 2 and 5(3) of the CPD Rules

Table of Content | Previous : Ways in which the CPD Requirement may be met

Preamble

Members have a general responsibility to keep up to date with developments in the law and practice relating to their work. Over and above that general professional responsibility there are mandatory CPD requirements which are set out in the CPD Rules. Details of how these requirements may be satisfied are set out below

The Society recognises certain activities as constituting formal continuing professional development. The Society encourages its members to undertake a wide range of activities and to regard acquisition of the prescribed 15 CPD points in each CPD practice year as only a minimum requirement.

Criteria for accreditation of CPD activities

1. The criteria are set out on pages 1 and 2 of this Information Package.
2. Approval should be obtained from the Society as to the suitability for accreditation of other activities. In such cases, the Society may request that a specific application for accreditation of such activity be made.
3. Except for Guideline 10 and for applications made under Guidelines 11, 12, 13, 15, 16 and 17 and in certain cases, Guideline 6, all applications for CPD accreditation must be made before the date on which the course is held. It is not possible to accredit CPD points after a course has taken place. (Please refer to page 63 of this Information Package.)

Course standards and requirements

4. Courses shall meet the following standards and requirements:
   
  4.1 "A course" means an education programme, seminar, workshop, lecture, conference, in-house group discussion, distance learning course, face-to-face training session held as part of a distance learning course (eg. summer schools, revision sessions), on demand online course, live webinar, and pre-recorded multimedia, audio-visual, audio or visual course.
  4.2 course leaders and lecturers must have the necessary practical and/or academic skills to conduct the course effectively. Experienced lawyers or other professionals must contribute to the development and/or teaching of the course;
  4.3 the method of presentation used must be appropriate to meet the aims and objectives of the course and, wherever possible and appropriate, should be varied and include participatory elements in order to encourage learning;
  4.4 before or at the course, each participant must be provided with written course materials of a quality and quantity which indicate that adequate time has been devoted to the preparation of the course and that it will be of value to the participants in the course of their practice;
  4.5 the course must be presented in a suitable setting conducive to a good educational experience. The course must be scheduled at a time and location so as to be free from interruption from telephone calls and other office matters. In the case of live webinar, the course may be conducted simultaneously with the speakers presenting from different time zones and locations and the participants participating from different locations but all webinars must conducted from locations free from interruption and disturbance from telephone calls and other matters;
  4.6 the level of the course, the number of CPD point(s) accredited to the course and whether the course is substantially a repeat of a previous course must be noted in all promotional material;
  4.7 all courses must be evaluated by the participants attending the course in a manner which is approved by the Society;
  4.8 subject to paragraph 4.9 and except where provided to the contrary in these Guidelines, courses should be accredited with the number of CPD point(s) corresponding to the number of hour(s) of tuition scheduled, excluding tea, coffee, lunch and other breaks. Only full or half points may be accredited to any courses. CPD points should be rounded down to the nearest half point for courses which are not scheduled to last for an exact number of half or whole hours; and
  4.9 for the development of practical skills, courses requiring delegates' active participation, for example, through workshops, will be more effective than traditional lecture based courses. Where at least 1/3 of the tuition time is spent in such small group work, trainee solicitors and solicitors may add 25% to the actual time of the course. For example, a 4 hours' workshop comprising 2 hours of small group work qualifies for 1 additional CPD point giving a total of 5 CPD points
  4.10 subject to paragraph 4.11, a course must have a duration of at least one hour. Courses of only one hour must have no more than 10 minutes devoted to questions from the audience.
  4.11 (a) a course of 30 minutes or more but less than 60 minutes is eligible for ½ CPD point provided that for any courses with a lecture format, at least 80% of the course must be devoted to lecture presentation.
    (b) a participant at a course referred to in sub-paragraph (a) hereof may claim ½ CPD point provided that he attends the entire course. No lateness is permitted.
  4.12 Participation in, or attendance at a course, means attendance at the complete course, or a designated segment of the course which is discrete from the rest of the course and has been accredited on a segmented basis.

Attending Live Webinars and Viewing Pre-recorded Multimedia, Audio-visual, Audio, or Visual Courses

5. 5.1 Up to 15 CPD points of the annual CPD requirement may be fulfilled by undertaking live webinars and viewing pre-recorded multimedia, audio-visual, audio or visual courses.
  5.2 In order for a practitioner to obtain CPD point(s) for courses referred to in this Guideline, the course provider must, in addition to the usual accreditation requirements, provide the following to the Society:
    i. a copy of the course materials at the Society's request
    ii. access to the course on-line in order for the Society to monitor the course;
    iii. evidence that the course is "real time" and interactive; the interactive elements include but are not limited to question and answer session(s), group work, quizzes and exercises;
    iv. attendance records kept by the course provider demonstrating a participant has completed the course in full in the event of CPD audit. For the avoidance of doubt, the attendance policy set out in the Section "Attendance at Accredited CPD Courses" of this Information Package applies to courses referred to in this Guideline.
  5.3 In order for a practitioner to obtain CPD point(s) for viewing pre-recorded multi-media, audio-visual, audio or visual course referred to in this Guideline, in addition to the criteria set out in Guideline 5.2, the following requirements would also apply:
    i. there must be an opportunity for participants to ask questions of the course instructor(s) / presenters and to engage in discussion.
    ii. if the course instructor(s) are not available, either in person or via telephone, then a qualified commentator must be available to offer comments, answer questions and lead discussion.
    ii. a course which only requires a participant to click through a series of slides will not qualify for CPD points. Reading and reviewing cases or articles does not qualify for CPD points.
    iv. a participant must attend the entire course or view materials presented before the participant can claim any CPD points. This includes reading any accompanying materials and completing any accompanying group work, quizzes and exercises.

Overseas courses

6. Overseas courses will be accredited under the following conditions:
  (a) in the normal course, in approved jurisdictions only;
  (b) the overseas course provider being an academic institution or a professional body or any other body approved by the CPD Committee;
  (c) i. upon the overseas course provider submitting an application for accreditation and paying the requisite accreditation fee; or
    ii. where it can be demonstrated that the overseas course provider will not, in the normal course, submit an application for accreditation of the course, upon an application for accreditation being made by the Hong Kong practitioner(s) seeking accreditation and upon payment by such Hong Kong practitioner(s) of the requisite accreditation fee;
  (d) i. upon production of sufficient documentation by the overseas course provider to enable the Hong Kong practitioner(s) to demonstrate compliance with the CPD Scheme in Hong Kong (i.e. a course attendance list setting out the time at which the practitioner(s) signed in and signed out the attendance at the course); or
    ii. upon any Hong Kong practitioner who attended the overseas course filing with the Society by the end of the CPD practice year in which he attended the course, written confirmation that he attended the entire course, or, where he attended part of the course, written confirmation setting out which parts/sessions of the course he attended and the full attendance details for each part/session of his attendance; and
  (e) applications for accreditation under this Guideline should be made before the date of the course. However, where the Society is satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist, it may grant retrospective accreditation of an overseas course upon application being made by a practitioner (but not a course provider), provided that the applicant pays a late accreditation fee and submits the application to the Society not later than 30 days after the overseas course has been conducted. However, practitioners should hold no expectation that the submission of an application for retrospective accreditation will necessarily result in the course being accredited.

On demand online courses

7. 7.1 Subject to paragraphs 7.2 and 7.3, up to 15 CPD points of the annual CPD requirement may be fulfilled by undertaking on demand online courses accredited by the Society.
  7.2 In order for a practitioner to obtain CPD point(s) for an on demand online course referred to in this Guideline, the course provider must, in addition to the usual accreditation requirements, provide the following to the Society:
 
i. a copy of the course materials;
    ii. access to the course on-line in order for the Society to monitor the course;
    iii. evidence that the course is interactive; the interactive elements include but are not limited to quizzes and exercises;
    iv. details of the technical support services available to participants.; and
    v. attendance records kept by the course provider demonstrating a participant has completed the course in full.
  7.3 A practitioner claiming CPD point(s) for attendance at an on demand online course must produce to the Society a printed copy of a completion certificate as supporting evidence in the event of a CPD audit.

Distance learning courses

8. 8.1 "Distance learning course" means a course delivered by correspondence, audio cassettes, video cassettes, television broadcasts or inter-active videos.
  8.2 Up to 15 CPD points of the annual CPD requirement may be fulfilled by undertaking distance learning courses approved by the Society where the course involves an examination or a written assignment assessed by the course provider or leads to a qualification recognised by the Society.

Law courses

9. 9.1 "Law course" means a course related to legal practice approved by the Society which leads to a qualification recognised by the Society or a subject related to legal practice approved by the Society which forms part of a course that leads to a qualification recognised by the Society.
  9.2 Up to 15 CPD points of the annual CPD requirement may be fulfilled by undertaking a law course on a part-time basis. Courses leading to a qualification include, for example, courses leading to a master degree, postgraduate diploma or specialised bachelor degree (e.g. Bachelor in Chinese Law). Subjects forming part of a course that leads to a qualification include, for example, a law module forming part of a master course on a discipline other than law.
  9.3 Trainee solicitors and solicitors must apply to the Society for accreditation of any law courses and must provide such materials and information in support of the application as required by the Society.
  9.4 The Society may publish a list of approved law courses which will be reviewed from time to time. Any courses may be removed from the approved list following such review.
  9.5 CPD point(s) under this paragraph may be counted in each CPD practice year during which the course is undertaken, provided that in each CPD practice year the trainee solicitor or solicitor complies with the course attendance requirements, attends lectures and/or tutorials totalling in duration not less than the number of hours of CPD point(s) being claimed and provides evidence of such attendance as and if required by the Society.

Courses attended under the deemed accreditation system

10. 10.1 Up to 3 CPD points of the annual requirement of 15 CPD points may be claimed by undertaking courses which fall within the accreditation criteria set out in paragraph 10.3 without an application for CPD accreditation.
  10.2 Where the annual CPD requirement is pro-rated in accordance with Table A on page 5, Table A1 on page 6, Table B on page 7, Table C on page 49, Table D on page 50 or Table E on page 50, up to 1/5 of the pro-rated CPD requirement rounded down to the nearest half point may be claimed by undertaking courses which fall within the accreditation criteria set out in paragraph 10.3 without an application for CPD accreditation.
  10.3 The courses which are deemed accredited must be:
    (a) of significant intellectual or practical content and must deal primarily with matters related to the practitioner's practice of law, and
    (b) conducted by persons who are qualified by practical, academic and/or professional experience in the subject covered, and
    (c) that extends the solicitor's knowledge and/or skills in areas that are relevant to the practitioner's practice needs or professional development.
  10.4 Courses which are deemed accredited should be accredited with the number of CPD points in accordance with Guidelines 4.8 to 4.12. As a general rule, 1 CPD point is awarded for each hour of the course.
  10.5 Practitioners are required to state in the annual Statement of Compliance with CPD and RME Requirements the courses undertaken by them under the deemed accreditation system do comply with the accreditation criteria in paragraph 10.3.
  10.6 Practitioners should keep documentary evidence of attendance including but not limited to course materials, in particular, materials proving the course fulfils the accreditation criteria and attendance certificate for at least 2 years after the end of the relevant CPD practice year for the inspection of the Society for audit purposes.

Writing articles, books

11. 11.1 Up to 15 CPD points of the annual CPD requirement may be undertaken by writing law books, or articles in legal journals or legal articles in such other journals as approved by the Society.
  11.2 Subject to paragraph 11.3, any CPD points claimed under paragraph 11.1 must be claimed in the CPD practice year in which the law book or the article is published.
  11.3 The Society may in its discretion allow CPD point(s) to be claimed in the CPD practice year in which the article or law book was written, and prior to publication, provided that the Society is satisfied that there is sufficient written evidence that during that CPD practice year the publisher had approved that the article or law book be published in the next succeeding CPD practice year.
  11.4 The legal or other journal, which may be in an electronic format, must be approved by the Society.
  11.5 The book or article should be on an area of substantive law or practice and procedure.
  11.6 Subject to paragraph 11.7, 3 CPD points may be allocated for every 1,000 words (English or Chinese) published, or 1½ CPD points for such lesser number of words published as may be approved by the Society.
  11.7 In the case of substantial revisions or updates of previous publications, the number of CPD point(s) to be allocated shall be determined by the Society.

Legal research

12. 12.1 Subject to the Society's approval, up to 15 CPD points of the annual CPD requirement may be undertaken by conducting legal research which is of use beyond the particular case and results in the production of a precedent, practice note, other form of written guidance, or substantial written submissions on any public consultation document relevant to legal practice, that is generally available to the public or made available to solicitors and trainee solicitors in the researcher's firm.
  12.2 The number of CPD point(s) to be allocated, if any, in any case shall be determined by the Society having regard to the quality of the results of the research, its availability to the public or to solicitors and trainee solicitors within the researcher's firm or organisation and the contemporaneous records maintained by the trainee solicitor or solicitor engaged in the research.

Dissertations

13. 13.1 Up to 15 CPD points of the annual CPD requirement may be undertaken by production of a dissertation counting towards a qualification recognised by the Society.
  13.2 1 CPD point may be allocated for every 1,000 words (English or Chinese) of such dissertation.

Preparation, presentation and facilitation of approved training courses

14. 14.1 Up to 15 CPD points of the annual CPD requirement may be undertaken by preparation of oral or written material forming part of the formal instruction within approved training courses by a trainee solicitor or solicitor, whether or not he was involved in the presentation of the course. Contemporaneous working papers and the results achieved in relation to the preparation undertaken must be retained by the trainee solicitor or solicitor engaged in such preparation work.
  14.2 Actual time spent in the preparation work (as rounded up or down to the nearest half hour*) may be counted provided that the number of CPD point(s) claimed by a trainee solicitor or solicitor for preparation for any one course may not exceed three times the actual time involved in presenting that part of the course for which the preparation was undertaken.
  14.3 Up to 15 CPD points of the annual CPD requirement may be undertaken by presentation of, or assisting in the presentation as a facilitator in approved training courses. Twice the actual time involved in presenting or facilitating in a course or part of a course, as the case may be, may be counted (as rounded up or down to the nearest half hour*) .
  14.4 Where a trainee solicitor or solicitor remains in attendance for the whole of the course in which he is involved in presenting or facilitating a part for which CPD point(s) may be allocated under paragraph 14.3, that trainee solicitor or solicitor may be allocated the full number of CPD point(s) available to participants attending that other part of the course in which that trainee solicitor or solicitor is not involved in the presentation or assisting in the presentation as a facilitator (rounded up or down to the nearest half hour).
  14.5 "Approved training course" means a lecture or tutorial forming part of the LL.B., PCLL, CPE or CPEC courses at a Hong Kong university, a lecture or tutorial forming part of a law course accredited by the Society, preparatory courses for the Overseas Lawyers Qualification Examination accredited by the Society and an accredited CPD course.
* blocks of 15 to 29 minutes may be rounded up to the nearest half hour

Participation in committees/working parties/associations

15. 15.1 Up to 7 CPD points of the annual CPD requirement may be fulfilled by -
    (a) participation in the work of the Council of the Society;
    (b) subject to the approval of the Society, participation in the work of
      i. the committees or working parties of the Society; and
      ii. such committees or associations as are approved (from time to time) by the Society,
which deal with issues of substantial significance in the practice of law; and such work being not limited to attendance at meetings of the approved committees, working parties or with third parties such as the Legislative Council, the Department of Justice or the Judiciary, but also work such as review of guidelines and legislation, and comments on consultation documents.
    (c) participation as a member of the Legislative Council in the work of the Bills Committees involving scrutiny and approval of draft legislation; and
    (d) undertaking work as a member or Tribunal Convenor of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
  15.2 Solicitors and trainee solicitors may claim 1 CPD point for each hour engaged in such work. Half a CPD point may be claimed if the duration spent on such work is in excess of half an hour but less than an hour. Any amount of time spent on the work specified in paragraph 15.1 can be counted towards the 7 CPD points to be claimed in a CPD practice year.
 

The approved committees, working parties or associations are listed on pages 38 to 42 of this Information Package.

  To apply for CPD accreditation, the committees or associations under paragraph 15.1(b)(ii) should submit an application to the Society for approval and provide the terms of reference of the committees or associations in support of the application.

Work as an external examiner/assessor/coach and participation as a judge in a moot court competition

16. 16.1 Subject to approval by the Society, up to 7 CPD points of the annual CPD requirement may be fulfilled by:
    (a) undertaking work as an external examiner for the PCLL examination or the International Award Writing Examination of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, including work in preparing questions for such examination;
    (b) undertaking work as an examiner for the Overseas Lawyers Qualification Examination, including work in preparing questions for such examination;
    (c) undertaking work as an assessor for the LL.B. (Honours) Programme provided by City University of Hong Kong;
    (d) undertaking work as an assessor / adjudicator for the PCLL Advocacy Course provided by the University of Hong Kong, City University of Hong Kong or the Chinese University of Hong Kong;
    (e) participation as a judge in a moot court competition organised by a university in Hong Kong;
    (f) undertaking work as an examiner for the PCLL Advocacy Examination provided by the Chinese University of Hong Kong;
    (g) undertaking work as an assessor for accreditation of mediators on the Panels of Mediators of Hong Kong Mediation Accreditation Association Ltd ("HKMAAL"); and
    (h) undertaking work as a coach in general mediation or family mediation courses approved by HKMAAL.
  16.2 1 CPD point may be claimed for each period of 2 hours engaged in such work. Contemporaneous records in relation to the work undertaken must be retained as evidence in support of the number of CPD point(s) claimed.

Participation in other legal training activities

17. 2 CPD points may be claimed for each completed Duty Lawyer Scheme orientation on the basis of a confirmation from the Duty Lawyer Service to the Society that a solicitor has successfully completed the orientation.

Mediation Training

18. Solicitor-mediators seeking renewal of membership on the Panels of General and/or Family and/or Family Mediation Supervisors may fulfil their CPD requirement in mediation training by pursuing the following areas for study and/or training:
 
  • Communication skills
 
  • Negotiation
 
  • Problem-solving
 
  • Other mediation training (Family, Community, Environment, Cross-culture)
 
  • Partnering/alliance-building
 
  • Advanced mediation skills
 
  • Other dispute resolution processes
 
  • Conflict management/avoidance


Suggested areas for further study specifically for Admitted Family Mediators include:

 
  • Domestic violence
 
  • Child Abuse
 
  • Child-care & child development
 
  • Psychological process of separation and divorce
 
  • Appropriate arrangements for custody, care, control and access
 
  • Step-parenting/families
 
  • Co-parenting
 
  • Local policy in practices e.g. Housing, Insurance, Taxation & C.S.S.A
 
  • Special knowledge in solving financial disputes


Priority CPD areas

19. Trainee solicitors and solicitors should take note of those areas of law and practice which the Society indicates are of particular current importance. Statements will appear in the Society's Circulars from time to time indicating any additional CPD point(s) which may be given to undertaking CPD in these priority areas.

Double counting

20. There shall be no double counting of CPD point(s) in respect of activities specified in these Guidelines. For example, a practitioner will not be allowed to claim CPD point(s) for both attendances at a law course and production of a dissertation in the same law course in the same CPD practice year. The practitioner will only be able to claim CPD point(s) under either one of the above CPD activities in respect of the same law course in the same CPD practice year.
  For the avoidance of doubt, a practitioner is entitled to claim CPD point(s) for attending or presenting a CPD course irrespective of the number of times he has presented or attended the course. With respect to the preparation of materials, a practitioner is entitled to claim CPD point(s) for the actual time spent in preparing or updating the materials each time the course is held.

Revocation or amendment of CPD point(s)

21. The Society has a discretion to revoke or amend any determination or approval of CPD point(s) accredited to an activity under these Guidelines.

Coaching

22. 22.1 "Coaching" means a structured one-to-one training process conducted face-to-face internally in a law firm during which the coach assists an individual practitioner to achieve an enhancement of his legal knowledge and skills. Coaches must have a minimum of 5 years of post-admission experience in the practice of law and have the necessary practical and/or academic skills to assist the practitioners being coached to achieve the objectives set for the coaching sessions.
  22.2 To qualify for CPD point(s), a coaching session must be of at least 30 minutes in duration and structured with written objectives and an outline of the session content. The activity should be at an appropriate level. It should be structured with the aim of advancing an individual practitioner’s general professional skills and knowledge and not a particular fee-earning matter.
  22.3 The outcomes following each session must be properly documented. A written record of the objectives, the content outline and the outcomes of each coaching session and the date, the start time, the finish time and the venue with respect to the coaching session held must be retained by the coach and the practitioner being coached for verification by the Society of the CPD point(s) claimed.
  22.4 Up to 5 CPD points of the annual CPD requirement may be undertaken by participation in coaching sessions that qualify for CPD point(s) in accordance with the CPD Guidelines. The actual time engaged in each coaching session may be claimed by the coach and the practitioner being coached on the basis of ½ CPD point for each half-hour. Blocks of 15 to 29 minutes in excess of the minimum 30 minutes referred to in paragraph 22.2 may be rounded up to the nearest half-hour.

Where the Society’s approval is required, applications for CPD point(s) should be made in writing and sent to the Assistant Director, Professional Development at 3/F., Wing On House, 71 Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong.

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