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What is continuing professional development?

Continuing professional development ("CPD") is the systematic maintenance, improvement and broadening of relevant knowledge and skills to enable a professional to successfully carry out his professional duties and responsibilities throughout his career.

Whilst the CPD scheme ("CPD Scheme") may be seen by some as a burdensome requirement, our profession is self regulatory and the Council is obliged to ensure the establishment and promotion of high standards of work within the profession. This includes the encouragement of the continued study and acquisition of legal knowledge and skills by legal practitioners.

Moreover, in a changing legal environment with the profession subject to many external pressures, CPD provides a convenient framework for the profession to meet the changing demands of clients and society to continuously update knowledge and skills, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the profession and to enable some practitioners to redefine their careers by learning new professional skills and areas of practice.

The CPD Scheme has been designed to be as flexible as possible so that the relevant number of CPD points may be acquired in a time conscious and cost effective manner. The Law Society ("Society") has taken into consideration the need for busy practitioners to comply with CPD requirements through other methods of learning than attendance at traditional lecture-based courses. For example, conducting dissertations, writing legal articles and books, attending distance learning courses and preparing and presenting courses are treated as CPD activities.

Criteria for accreditation of CPD activities

A CPD activity shall:

(a) seek to extend, develop, maintain and enhance professional knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes and ethics in areas that are relevant to the practice needs and professional standards of solicitors and/or trainee solicitors; and
(b) be of significant or sufficient intellectual or professional or practical content; and
(c) deal with substantive, procedural, ethical or practice management matters (including client care and relations) or skills directly related or relevant to practitioners' practice of law; and
(d) be conducted by a person who is qualified by practical or academic or professional experience in the subject covered; and
(e) have as its objective the development and maintenance of practitioners' competency in ethics, professional conduct, legal knowledge and skills and/or legal practice management.

Legal skills include

(a) effective communication, both oral and written;
(b) interviewing and advising;
(c) problem solving, including related critical thinking and decision making;
(d) advocacy;
(e) arbitration;
(f) mediation;
(g) negotiation;
(h) drafting legal documents;
(i) legal writing, including related plain writing;
(j) legal research;
(k) legal project management;
(l) how to work with law practice technology, including:
  I. e-discovery;
  II. in the courtroom;
  III. client record management;
  IV. converting electronically stored information into evidence;
  V. social networking technology to facilitate client;
  VI. communication (but excluding marketing and client development);
but not

(a) general business leadership;
(b) chairing and conducting meetings;
(c) serving on a Board of Directors;
(d) general project management;
(e) skills and knowledge primarily within the practice scope of other professions and disciplines.

This Information Package contains the current rules governing the CPD Scheme and the policies and guidelines of the Council in relation to the practical application of the CPD Scheme.

All trainee solicitors and solicitors covered by the CPD Scheme (hereinafter called "the practitioners") should acquaint themselves with the information in this Information Package, in particular, the CPD Rules Cap. 159W ("CPD Rules") and the Guidelines for Compliance with CPD requirements, and ensure that proper attention is given to their participation in CPD activities throughout each CPD practice year.


The CPD Scheme is an honour-based CPD Scheme.

Practitioners are required to register their attendance but they are not required to scan their Society membership card at the course venue. After completion of an accredited CPD course, a practitioner shall make a record of the CPD point(s) awarded to the course in his own training record provided that no CPD points should be claimed by him if he is absent from the course (excluding scheduled breaks) for more than 10 minutes for a course of less than 3 hours or for more than 30 minutes for a course of 3 hours or more.

The Society does not keep records of individual practitioners' attendance at courses. All practitioners must keep their own training record for 2 CPD practice years and, where records involved CPD point(s) carried from previous CPD practice years, for those previous CPD practice years. The training record form can be downloaded from the Society's website at

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