21 April 2018

Frequently Asked Questions about CPD

1 Who is required to undertake the New Practitioners' Programme (NPP) and what are the requirements?
2 When does the New Practitioners Programme three-year period begin?
3 What courses qualify for the New Practitioners Programme?
4 Who is required to undertake the Established Practitioners' Programme (EPP) and what are the requirements?
5 What qualifies for the Established Practitioners' Programme?
6 How do practitioners find out about accredited courses?
7 How are records of course attendance kept?
8 What courses are available for barristers who are on low incomes?
9 What courses are available for barristers outside London?
10 What happens if a barrister is out of practice for a time?
11 What should barristers do if they are having difficulty in complying with the requirements?
12 What happens if a barrister fails to complete the CPD requirements?

1 Who is required to undertake the New Practitioners' Programme (NPP)?

All practising barristers in the first three years of practice are required to undertake the New Practitioners Programme. Within this three-year period, you are required to undertake a minimum of 45 hours of continuing professional development, including at least nine hours advocacy training, three hours of ethics training and 33 CPD hours. If the Accounting Course was not completed during pupillage, this will be added to your NPP requirement.

Please ensure you leave sufficient time to complete the Forensic Accounting Course. Whilst it is an online module, delegate numbers are capped and courses are not always available each month. The Forensic Accounting Course does not count towards CPD hours.

2 When does the New Practitioners Programme three-year period begin?

The three-year period begins from the 1 January following commencement of practice (either a third six, squatting, tenancy or if in employed practice from the day that you start with a firm, as long as you have a practising certificate.)  However, barristers are able to accrue CPD hours from the date they commenced practice.

3.What courses qualify for the New Practitioners Programme?

New Practitioners are required to accrue CPD hours through training that is relevant to their present or proposed area of practise. From 1 January 2017, there is no requirement for NPP barristers to complete accredited CPD activities. The compulsory courses within NPP should still be completed through the specific approved training providers. These are the Inns and Circuits for Advocacy and Ethics, and BPP for Forensic Accounting. For more information about which activities count towards the NPP please read the general guide to CPD.  

4 Who is required to undertake the Established Practitioners' Programme (EPP) and what are the requirements?

All practising barristers who have completed the first three years of practice are required to undertake the Established Practitioners Programme. The CPD regime for Established Practitioners changed on 1 January 2017. There are no longer a minimum amount of hours required and training does not have to be accredited. Every calendar year Established Practitioners are required to complete a CPD plan with objectives and outcomes and then then reflect on how well the plan went.

5 What CPD qualifies for the Established Practitioners' Programme?

As with all types of CPD, the training must be relevant to a barrister's present or proposed area(s) of practice and must satisfy the BSB's Board's CPD definition. Please refer to ' The General Guide to CPD' for the full CPD definition and the rules which govern CPD for the Bar of England & Wales. 

6 How do practitioners find out about accredited courses?

No, as of 1 January 2017, barristers do not have to attend accredited CPD courses whether they are on the NPP or the EPP. CPD providers are no longer required to obtain accreditation from the BSB. New Practitioners can claim CPD for a course simply by adding it to their record card.

7 How are records of course attendance kept?

Barristers are required to keep their own record of their attendance at courses, lectures/events or any other CPD activity they undertake, which must also be detailed on their CPD record card. CPD providers will not always provide proof of attendance. A copy of the CPD record card must be kept for three years, in case the BSB requests to review it as part of the ongoing Supervision CPD spot-checks. Please refer to the  CPD Spot-Check FAQS for more information.

8 What courses are available for barristers who are on low incomes?

The BSB is aware that some barristers may be on a restricted income in the first few years of practice and we make every effort to ensure that there are sufficient courses available at reasonable rates. Many of the specialist bar associations and Circuits offer discounted fees for new practitioners and some external providers may also give discounts on request. Many Barristers' Chambers provide in-house training to their members. 

9 What courses are available for barristers outside London

All of the Circuits run advocacy and ethics courses for new practitioners, and a number of CPD courses. CPD providers are based across England and Wales and a number are based overseas. Many provincial universities are running relevant courses. There are also a vast number of CPD courses that can be completed online. 

10 What happens if a barrister is out of practice for a time?

For Established Practitioners. If your circumstances mean that less CPD needs to be completed due to, for example, maternity leave, ill health or another reason, then this only needs to be noted on your CPD plan. There is no longer an extension or waivers process for Established Practitioners.

If you are on the NPP and you are unable to complete hours due to illness, bereavement or other reasons, you may apply to the BSB for an extension of time in which to complete the requirements. https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/qualifying-as-a-barrister/current-requirements/forms-and-guidelines/applications-authorisations,-exemptions,-waivers-and-reviews/.

11 What should barristers do if they are having difficulty in complying with the requirements?

They should contact the CPD Supervision Team, immediately for advice and assistance. It may be appropriate to apply to the BSB for an extension of time. To obtain an extension form, please contact: authorisations@barstandardsboard.org.uk.

12 What happens if a barrister fails to complete the CPD requirements?

If you do not complete the CPD requirements of continuing professional development, the BSB could set corrective action or you may be referred to the Professional Conduct Committee for breach of the BSB Handbook. Under rE50 - rE52 of the BSB Handbook, the Professional Conduct Committee may impose certain penalties for failure to comply with the CPD requirements. 

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