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Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Condition 1 is a statutory condition imposed on an Australian practising certificate pursuant to s.52 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW). This condition requires the certificate holder to comply with applicable requirements of the Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015. 

Required CPD units

The CPD year runs from 1 April to 31 March the following year and you are required to complete 10 CPD units each year.

Practitioners must include at least one (1) CPD unit every year in each of the following fields:

  1. Ethics and Professional Responsibility
  2. Practice Management and Business skills
  3. Professional Skills
  4. Substantive Law

Compliance with CPD is administered in accordance with the Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015.

Compliance and audit

To help you comply, the Law Society of New South Wales has prepared several forms.

Record of CPD Activities - list your CPD activities and the associated points for the year on this form to record your compliance. Please keep this as your own record and provide a copy to the Society upon request.

Request for Extension of Time - complete and return this form if you have not met your CPD requirements for the year.

Request for Exemption - complete and return this form if you have practised for more than 40 years, you have been absent from practise, or your personal circumstances have made it difficult for you to meet your CPD requirements for the year.

CPD Audit - The Law Society verifies compliance with the CPD scheme by a random audit of solicitors each year.

Obtaining your CPD units

The CPD scheme is based on self-assessment of educational activity. If you assess that it is relevant to your immediate or long-term needs in relation to your professional development and practise of the law, then you can claim the activity towards satisfaction of the CPD requirements.

There are a variety of ways to meet your CPD requirements. Rule 8.1 of the Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015 provides that a CPD activity may consist of:

  • 8.1.1  a seminar, workshop, lecture, conference, discussion group, multimedia or web-based program, private study of audio/visual material or any other educational activity, or
  • 8.1.2  the research, preparation or editing by a solicitor of:

         8.1.2.1  an article published in a legal publication, or

         8.1.2.2  a legal article published in a non-legal publication, or

         8.1.2.3  published Law Report or other legal services, or

  • 8.1.3  the preparation and/or presentation by a solicitor of written or oral material to be used in a CPD activity or in other forms of education provided to solicitors and/or other professional and/or to other persons including those undertaking practical or supervised legal training, or
  • 8.1.4  membership of a committee, taskforce or practice section of a professional association, designated local authority or the Law Council of Australia or of other committees, provided that the solicitor regularly attends its meeting, if the work performed on the committee, taskforce or practice section is of substantial significance to the practice of law and is reasonably likely to assist the solicitor's professional development, or
  • 8.1.5  postgraduate studies relevant to a solicitor's practice needs.

Rule 8.2 of the Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015 provides that private study does not constitute CPD activity for the purpose of these Rules unless it involves the private study of audio/visual material specifically designed for the purpose of updating a solicitor's knowledge and/or skills relevant to his or her practice needs.


Rule 9.1 of the Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015 provides that a CPD unit means:

  • 9.1.1  in relation to a CPD activity referred to in rule 8.1.1, 8.1.3 and 8.1.5, one hour of the activity,
  • 9.1.2  in relation to a CPD activity referred to in rule 8.1.2, 1000 words of the article,
  • 9.1.3  in relation to a CPD activity referred to in rule 8.1.4, two hours of the activity,


Rule 9.2 of the Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015 provides that in calculating the relevant CPD units of CPD activity in respect of a CPD year, the total must not include:

  • 9.2.1  more than 5 CPD units of CPD activity referred to in rule 8.1.2,
  • 9.2.2  more than 5 CPD units of CPD activity referred to in rule 8.1.3,
  • 9.2.3  more than 3 CPD units of CPD activity referred to in rule 8.1.4,
  • 9.2.4  more than 5 CPD units of CPD activity referred to in rule 8.2.

Solicitors who successfully complete a specialist accreditation assessment process will be deemed to have completed 10 CPD units in the year of their completion. 
 

 Further information about Continuing Professional Development can be found in the Comprehensive Guide.

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RELATED LINKS

  • Quick Guide to MCLE
  • MCLE/CPD - Comprehensive Guide
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