Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the work undertaken by barristers to develop their skills, knowledge and professional standards. All barristers are required to undertake CPD. In this section, we provide information and guidance for barristers to help them meet their CPD requirements.

As a barrister, from "day one" of practice, after completing your training, you will have acquired the knowledge, skills and attributes outlined in the Professional Statement to at least the level of the Threshold Standard. However, in order to keep yourself up to date and maintain high standards, you need to continually update and develop your knowledge and skills. You will also need to adapt to the changing needs of clients.

If you are a practising barrister, you are subject to the CPD requirements set out in Part 4, Section C of the BSB Handbook. If you are in your first three years of practice, you must follow the New Practitioner Programme (NPP). Following completion of the NPP, you will move onto the Established Practitioner Programme (EPP).

In order to check your compliance with the requirements, from time to time, we spot check a sample of CPD records.

CPD definition

CPD is defined in the BSB handbook (rQ130.2) as “work undertaken over and above the normal commitments of barristers with a view to such work developing their skills, knowledge and professional standards in areas relevant to their present or proposed area of practice, in order to keep themselves up to date and maintain the highest standards of professional practice.”

What counts as CPD

CPD activities should cover at least one of the following knowledge and skills areas:

  • legal knowledge and skills;
  • advocacy;
  • practice management;
  • working with clients and others; and
  • ethics, professionalism and judgement

When planning your CPD activity, you may wish to use the Professional Statement as a basis for considering what knowledge or skills you wish to develop further.

A non-exhaustive list of CPD activities includes:

  • taking part in formal face-to-face training courses, including university courses;
  • online courses;
  • listening to podcasts;
  • attending conferences;
  • taking part in seminars or webinars;
  • reading or research;
  • authorship and editing of published works of a professional nature. This could include exam papers; substantial consultation responses; law reform proposals; professional updating e-zines / blogs;
  • presenting seminars, lectures and workshops; and
  • teaching a relevant legal course eg LLBs, LLMs, the GDL, BPTC, LPC or Diplomas in Law.

Activities undertaken overseas may count towards CPD.

What does not count as CPD

The following activities do not count towards CPD:

  • work completed as part of routine practice, including pro-bono or volunteer legal case work;
  • research completed as part of routine practice, including pro-bono or volunteer legal case work;
  • updating social media accounts including Twitter;
  • following a social media account; and
  • blogging unrelated to your current or proposed practice.

Read more CPD guidance

Your guide to the New Practitioner Programme scheme

Learn more about the New Practitioner Programme (NPP) – CPD for barristers in their first three years of practice.

Your guide to the Established Practitioner Programme scheme

Learn more about the Established Practitioner Programme (EPP) – CPD for barristers with more than three years of practice experience.

CPD guidance for chambers and employers

Read our barristers’ CPD guide for non-barristers working in chambers or organisations employing barristers.

CPD and parental leave

Read our CPD guide for barristers taking, or planning to take, parental leave.