Mandatory Continuing Professional Development Requirements

Mandatory Continuing Professional Development Requirements

 
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Practitioners required to undertake CPD

Since 1 January 2003, the CPD Scheme has applied to all trainee solicitors and to all solicitors with practising certificates.

Exemption from the CPD Scheme for very senior solicitors may be available upon certain conditions. Please refer to page 59 of this Information Package for details.

The CPD requirement

A solicitor or a trainee solicitor must accumulate 15 CPD points in each CPD practice year.

However, a trainee solicitor must accumulate 30 CPD points by the end of his period of employment as a trainee solicitor and on a pro-rata basis in accordance with Table A and/or Table A1.

The CPD practice year

A CPD practice year is a period of 12 months commencing on 1 November and ending on 31 October the following year.

The CPD requirement for solicitor-mediators

Solicitors who have been admitted to the Panel(s) of General and/or Family Mediators and/or Family Mediation Supervisors of the Society can maintain their membership on the Panel(s) for a period of 4 years from the date of their admission to the relevant Panel(s). Membership on the Panels can be renewed, subject to, amongst other things, the Panel Member demonstrating to the Society's Mediator and Parenting Coordinator Admission Committee that he has undertaken the relevant CPD points or has been exempted from the CPD requirement as set out below:

(a) A total of at least 20 CPD points in mediation training out of the annual CPD requirement of the solicitor-mediator.
(b) The 20 CPD points on mediation training obtained during the 4 CPD years prior to renewal shall exclude the CPD points obtained from training course(s) that fulfilled the training requirements in Stage 1 (General and Family) and Stage 3 (Family) of the requirements to be an Admitted Mediator.
(c) Exemptions from the CPD requirement in mediation training may be granted by the Mediator and Parenting Coordinator Admission Committee on a case-by-case basis where exceptional circumstances exist and where it is fair and reasonable to do so.

The CPD requirement for trainee solicitors

A trainee solicitor is required to complete 15 CPD points during each CPD practice year (which commences on 1 November and ends on 31 October the following year).

Commencement of a trainee solicitor contract after the commencement of a CPD practice year

Trainee solicitors are advised to note that when their trainee solicitor contract commences after the commencement of a CPD practice year, they will be required to complete their CPD requirement on a pro-rata basis.

Under those circumstances, the annual 15 CPD points requirement will be determined on a pro-rata basis in accordance with Table A below.

Commencement date stated on trainee solicitor contract

Number of CPD points to be accumulated
1 November to 15 November 15
16 November to 15 December 14
16 December to 15 January 12½
16 January to 15 February 11
16 February to 15 March 10
16 March to 15 April 9
16 April to 15 May
16 May to 15 June 6
16 June to 15 July 0
16 July to 15 August 0
16 August to 31 August 0
1 September to 31 October 0

Table A - Pro-rata requirement for trainee solicitors where they commence their trainee solicitor contract after the commencement of a CPD practice year

There have been cases of misinterpretation of the CPD requirement for trainee solicitors where some trainee solicitors had completed 15 CPD points for the 12-month period starting from the commencement date of their trainee solicitor contract, instead of completing the requisite CPD points for the relevant CPD practice year in accordance with the pro-rata requirement listed in Table A above. Trainee solicitors are strongly advised to review Table A above to ascertain the number of CPD points they are required to accumulate in each CPD practice year.

Example of the calculation of the pro-rata CPD requirement:

A trainee solicitor commenced his trainee solicitor contract on 1 April 2015. His 2 year trainee solicitor contract will expire on 31 March 2017. He will need to accumulate 30 CPD points by 31 March 2017.

  CPD Requirement : 1.4.2015 - 31.10.2015  9 CPD points (Table A)
    1.11.2015 - 31.10.2016 15 CPD points
    1.11.2016 - 31.3.2017   6 CPD points                   
    Total      30 CPD points by the end of trainee solicitor contract

In the event of:

(1) a suspension of the CPD requirement of a trainee solicitor;
(2) a reduction of the term of a trainee solicitor contract; or
(3) a time gap between two trainee solicitor contracts,

the annual 15 CPD points requirement will be determined on a pro-rata basis in accordance with Table A1 below.

Actual duration in employment under a trainee solicitor contract
in a CPD practice year

Number of CPD points to be accumulated
0 – 15 days 0
16 – 45 days 1
46 – 75 days
76 – 105 days 4
106 – 135 days 5
136 – 165 days 6
166 – 195 days
196 – 225 days 9
226 – 255 days 10
256 – 285 days 11
286 – 315 days 12½
316 – 345 days 14
346 – 365 days 15

Table A1 - Pro-rata requirement for trainee solicitors in special circumstances

For trainee solicitors, the obligation to comply with the CPD requirement takes effect from the commencement date, not the registration date with the Society, of their trainee solicitor contract.

CPD activities undertaken prior to the end of the period of employment as a trainee solicitor including the time gap between two trainee solicitor contracts will be counted for CPD purposes.

Commencement of practice as a solicitor after the commencement of a CPD practice year

Where a solicitor is issued with a practising certificate after the commencement of a CPD practice year, the annual 15 CPD points requirement will be pro-rated in accordance with Table B on page 7 of this Information Package.

For solicitors, the obligation to comply with the CPD requirement for a CPD practice year takes effect from the commencement date of the period of practice stated in their practising certificate, not the issue date, of their practising certificate.

Commencement date stated on practising certificate

Number of CPD points to be accumulated
1 November to 15 November 15
16 November to 15 December 14
16 December to 15 January 12½
16 January to 15 February 11
16 February to 15 March 10
16 March to 15 April 9
16 April to 15 May
16 May to 15 June 6
16 June to 15 July 5
16 July to 15 August 4
16 August to 31 August
1 September to 31 October 0

Table B - Pro-rata CPD requirement for solicitors

Claiming CPD point(s) before admission

Solicitors can claim CPD point(s) for the CPD activities undertaken between the time of lodging a current application for admission (Form 4 or Form 1C) with the Society and within 3 months after the date of admission provided that details of the CPD activities undertaken have been entered in the CPD training record. Any CPD points obtained after the expiry of 3 months after the date of admission and before the commencement date of the first practising certificate of a solicitor will not be counted towards satisfaction of the solicitor’s CPD requirement.

Carrying over excess CPD point(s) from one CPD practice year to another

Practitioners will be permitted to carry over a maximum of 10 CPD points accumulated in excess of the CPD requirement in one CPD practice year to the next immediately succeeding CPD practice year only.

As an exception to the CPD policy, a practitioner who has completed all requisite modules of the RME core courses for principals within the practice year specified under rule 6 of the Legal Practitioners (Risk Management Education) Rules (“RME Rules”) will be permitted to carry over a maximum of 15 CPD points accumulated in excess of the CPD requirement in one CPD practice year to the next immediately succeeding CPD practice year.

Accordingly, if a practitioner has attended other CPD activities in addition to all requisite modules of the RME core courses for principals in one CPD practice year, he is permitted to carry over up to a maximum of 15 CPD points he obtained during the CPD practice year to the next immediately succeeding CPD practice year.

Out of the CPD points permitted to be carried over to satisfy the CPD requirement in the succeeding practice year, a maximum of 3 CPD points obtained from completion of RME electives may be utilised to satisfy the RME elective requirement for that succeeding practice year.

However, any excess CPD points accumulated during employment under the trainee solicitor contract cannot be carried over to the CPD practice year in which a trainee solicitor has been admitted as a solicitor.

Example 1:

A partner completed all requisite modules of the RME core courses for principals in June 2015 and obtained a total of 24 CPD points. In addition, he accumulated 15 CPD points by attendance of a law course (not part of the Society’s RME Programme) during the 2014/2015 CPD practice year. In total, the partner obtained 39 CPD points for the 2014/2015 CPD practice year. Assuming that the partner’s CPD requirement for the 2014/2015 CPD practice year is 15 CPD points, after utilising 15 CPD points out of the 39 points to satisfy his CPD requirement for the 2014/2015 CPD practice year, he can carry forward a maximum of 15 CPD points (out of the balance of 24 CPD points) to the next CPD practice year of 2015/2016.

Example 2:

A solicitor was required to accumulate 15 CPD points in the 2014/2015 CPD practice year. During the 2014/2015 CPD practice year, the solicitor did not undertake any RME courses. He accumulated 32 CPD points (i.e. 17 excess CPD points) and was thus permitted to carry over 10 CPD points to the next CPD practice year, thereby reducing the minimum CPD points which he is required to accumulate to fulfil his CPD requirement in the 2015/2016 CPD practice year ending 31 October 2016 to 5 CPD points.

 

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