Suspension of the CPD Requirement

 
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What is a suspension of the CPD requirement?

Solicitors who are holding current practising certificates but who are not in practice as a solicitor, and trainee solicitors who are employed as a trainee solicitor outside Hong Kong, for any period not shorter than 70 days may apply to suspend the CPD requirement for such period. During that period they are not required to undertake any CPD activities. Any CPD activity undertaken during the suspension period will not be counted for CPD purposes.

In order to apply for a suspension of the CPD requirement, the period of absence from practice in Hong Kong must relate to any one period running continuously for 70 days or more. An aggregate of various periods of absences during the year each lasting for less than 70 days but totaling 70 days or more will not entitle a solicitor or a trainee solicitor to a suspension.

Who can suspend the CPD requirement?

The CPD Rules only apply to trainee solicitors and solicitors holding a current practising certificate. It is therefore unnecessary for solicitors to apply for a CPD suspension for the period during which they do not hold a practising certificate.

Solicitors must make an application to the Society to suspend the CPD requirement if they are:

1.
Not in practice as a solicitor. This would apply, where, despite holding a current practising certificate, a solicitor:
  (i) is unemployed
  (ii) is on maternity leave, or
  (iii) is not required to act as a solicitor.
2.
In practice outside Hong Kong. This would apply where a solicitor is out of practice due to working abroad.
3.

Absent from work as a result of illness. This would apply where the solicitor is absent from practice due to long term illness.

Trainee solicitors must make an application to the Society to suspend the CPD requirement if they are:

1.
Employed as a trainee solicitor outside Hong Kong. This would apply only if it is for a period permitted by the Society.
2. Absent from work as a result of illness. This would apply where a trainee solicitor is absent from work due to long term illness.

What must practitioners do in order to obtain a CPD suspension?

Practitioners must make an application to the Society for a suspension of their CPD requirement. Applications should be directed to the Assistant Director, Professional Development. The Society may require the practitioner to submit a statutory declaration in support of the application. When any suspension is granted, the Society will confirm the number of CPD point(s) outstanding for that CPD practice year at the date of CPD suspension.

It should be noted that if a practitioner:

(a) Applies for and is granted a CPD suspension, any training undertaken during the suspension will not be counted towards the CPD requirement on return to practice or employment.
(b) Does not apply for a suspension, he may be required to meet the CPD requirement in full for that period.

Practitioners should enter in their CPD training record the date that any CPD suspension was granted by the Society, the dates the CPD suspension commenced and concluded and the reason for the CPD suspension.

Circumstances under which a CPD suspension granted may be void and/or ineffective

The CPD suspension granted to solicitors and trainee solicitors will become void and ineffective under the following circumstances:

  (a)

where a solicitor or trainee solicitor has been granted a CPD suspension on the basis that the solicitor or trainee solicitor will be absent from practice or employment for 70 days or more; and the solicitor or trainee solicitor returns to practice or employment in Hong Kong before the expiry of the 70 days;
  (b)

where a solicitor has been granted CPD suspension and during the CPD suspension, the practising certificate of the solicitor expires; the solicitor does not renew his practising certificate and the period commencing from the effective date of the CPD suspension to the date of expiry of the practising certificate of the solicitor is less than 70 days.

Example 1

A solicitor was granted a CPD suspension effective from 5 February 2014 on the basis that he would be out of Hong Kong for more than 70 days from 5 February 2014. However, he resumed practice as a solicitor in Hong Kong on 1 April 2014. The CPD suspension granted to him became void and ineffective because there were less than 70 days between 5 February and 31 March 2014, the day prior to his resumption of practice.

Example 2

A solicitor was granted a CPD suspension effective from 28 October 2014. He did not apply to renew his practising certificate when it expired on 31 December 2014. As solicitors are only subject to the CPD Rules if they hold a current practising certificate, and the solicitor has not held a practising certificate since 1 January 2015, the solicitor is not entitled to claim any CPD suspension from 1 January 2015. The CPD suspension granted to him from 28 October 2014 became void and ineffective as there were less than 70 days between 28 October and 31 December 2014, the expiry date of his 2014 practising certificate.

The CPD requirement for practitioners returning to work

A practitioner's CPD requirement on return to work will depend on how many CPD point(s) he has accrued before the suspension began, how many CPD point(s) will be required after the resumption of work and whether any excess point(s) may be carried over.

Determination of a practitioner's CPD requirement on return to work

A practitioner's CPD requirement will be determined by adding together a pro-rata of the annual CPD point(s) that were required to be undertaken up to the date of his CPD suspension (in accordance with Table C or Table D on pages 49 and 50 as the case may be), with a pro-rata of the annual CPD point(s) that will be required from the date of his return to practice or employment to the end of the CPD practice year (in accordance with Table E on page 50), taking into account any excess point(s) permissible.

Table C applies where a practitioner's CPD requirement arise from 1 November in the CPD practice year. However, where a practitioner comes within the ambit of the CPD Scheme after the commencement of the CPD practice year and is granted a suspension later in the same year, Table D applies.

Any enquiries should be directed to the Assistant Director, Professional Development on 2805 9105 or e-mail to adpd@hklawsoc.org.hk


Date of suspension

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

Table C


Actual duration in practice or employment under
a trainee solicitor contract prior to suspension


Number of CPD point(s) 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 D


Date of return to practice / resumption of training in Hong Kong
under trainee solicitor contract


Number of CPD point(s) 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 15 September
16 September to 15 October 1
16 October to 31 October 0

Table E

Example 1:

CPD requirement
Commencement date of CPD suspension: 10 November 2014 0 CPD point
  +
Date of return to work: 20 April 2015

7½ CPD points

CPD REQUIREMENT – 20.4.2015 to 31.10.2015
= 7½ CPD POINTS

Making up a shortfall in the CPD requirement at the date of CPD suspension

A practitioner who has not undertaken all of his CPD requirement in the CPD practice year in which the suspension began must make up any shortfall on his return to work.

Example 2:

CPD requirement


Actual CPD points accrued
Commencement date of CPD suspension: 18 December 2014 2½ CPD points 1 CPD point
Date of return to work: 6 March 2015 10 CPD points  
Shortfall in CPD points at 18 December 2014:

1½ CPD points

 
CPD REQUIREMENT - 6.3.2015 to 31.10.2015 = 12½ CPD points less 1 accrued CPD point
= 11½ CPD points
Carrying over excess CPD point(s)
1. A practitioner who ceases practice or employment in one CPD practice year and resumes practice or employment in the same CPD practice year, on return to practice or employment, will be allowed to carry over any excess CPD point(s) accumulated at the date of CPD suspension.

Example 3:

CPD requirement


Actual CPD points accrued
Commencement date of CPD suspension: 10 December 2014

1 CPD point 4 CPD points
Date of return to work: 15 July 2015

5 CPD points  
CPD REQUIREMENT - 1.11.2014 to 31.10.2015
Balance of CPD points required before 31.10.2015
= 6 CPD points
= 2 CPD points

2. A practitioner who ceases practice or employment in one CPD practice year and resumes practice or employment in another CPD practice year, on return to practice or employment, will be allowed to carry over excess CPD point(s) to a maximum of 10 CPD points from the CPD practice year in which the CPD suspension commenced (Year X) to the CPD practice year in which practice or employment is resumed (Year Y) only if Year Y is the immediate succeeding CPD practice year following Year X.

Example 4:

CPD requirement


Actual CPD points accrued
Commencement date of CPD suspension: 16 May 2013 9 CPD points 15 CPD points
Excess CPD points at 16 May 2013:

6 CPD points  
Date of return to work: 10 May 2015
(Not permitted to carry over the excess 6 CPD points)

7½ CPD points  
CPD REQUIREMENT - 10.05.2015 to 31.10.2015 = 7½ CPD points

Example 5:  

CPD requirement
Commencement date of first practising certificate: 1 January 2015  
Date of CPD suspension: 1 July 2015 7½ CPD points
Date of return to work: 12 September 2015

2½ CPD points
CPD REQUIREMENT for the CPD practice year ending 31 October 2015:

10 CPD points

 

Next : CPD Training Record