Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is further education or training or both.
What is CPD?
What Is Continuing Professional Development?
CPD is defined in the Regulations as “the provision of further education or training (or both) to a solicitor, whether relating to law or to management and professional development skills, intended to develop the solicitor in his or her professional knowledge, skills and abilities, and may be referred to in common usage as ‘CPD’”.
CPD Scheme - Regulations
The Solicitors (Continuing Professional Development) Regulations 2012 (S.I. 501/2012) (“The Regulations”) came into operation on the 1st of January 2013. The Regulations relate specifically to the calendar years or continuing professional development cycles for 2013, 2014 and 2015. http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2012/en/si/0501.html
The CPD cycle runs from the 1st January to the 31 December in each year.
The CPD Requirement for 2013 (First Cycle)
The minimum CPD requirement for the 2013 CPD Cycle is 14 hours, for the 2014 CPD Cycle it is 15 hours and for the 2015 Cycle it is 16 hours. Of the required number of hours in each of these cycles, a minimum of 3 hours must be “management and professional development skills” and a minimum of 1 hour must be “regulatory matters” and the balance may be a combination of “general CPD”, Management and Professional development skills”, and/or “regulatory matters”.
There are three ways of fulfilling the minimum CPD requirement through – “Group Study” by “e-learning” and/or by “writing relevant material which is published”. All the hours comprising the minimum CPD requirement may be fulfilled through group study but a maximum of CPD credit of 5 hours may be claimed for time spent on relevant e-learning and a maximum of CPD credit of 3 hours may be claimed for time spending writing relevant material that is published. Also, there is a maximum limit of seven hours of CPD within a single “24 hours” that may be claimed as a credit towards fulfilling the minimum CPD requirement.
The minimum CPD requirement for a CPD cycle may be modified downwards under certain specified circumstances in the Regulations for newly admitted solicitors, senior practitioners who have been admitted to the Roll for over 40 years, Maternity/Parental/ Carers/ Adoptive Leave cases, those not practising due to illness, unemployment or other substantive reasons or for those working part-time.
It is a solicitor’s own responsibility to maintain proof and an accurate written record of all his/her hours undertaking CPD in each CPD cycle, as recorded on the Society’s CPD Scheme Report Card. These Report Cards can be downloaded from the Law Society website.
The process of certifying fulfilment of the minimum CPD requirement by a solicitor who holds and continues to hold a practising certificate is by his/her practising certificate application form. A solicitor applying for a practising certificate for the following practice year/CPD cycle, is asked to certify on his/her practising certificate application form his/her fulfilment of the minimum CPD requirement in respect of the immediately preceding CPD cycle.
For more information, the Law Society has produced a 2013 CPD Scheme Booklet and CPD Scheme Report Card which may be downloaded from their website.