19 September 2019

New regime for barristers’ CPD starts 1 January: BSB publishes guidance and template

13 December 2016

CPD infographic

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today published guidance and a template to help practising barristers of more than three years' standing comply with the new CPD scheme, which starts on 1 January 2017. 

The CPD arrangements for those in their first three years of practice, who are on the New Practitioners Programme, are not changing save that the CPD activities they complete will no longer need to be accredited. This is because the BSB accreditation scheme ceases on 31 December 2016.

The outgoing CPD scheme required established barristers to undertake a mandatory 12 hours' CPD per year. The new scheme changes the emphasis from the amount of CPD undertaken to the relevance of the learning and development to the barrister.

In order to comply with the new scheme, barristers will now be required to:

  • REVIEW: prepare a written CPD plan setting out their learning objectives and the activities they propose to undertake during the year.
  • RECORD: keep a written record of the CPD activities undertaken over the past three years including their reflection on the CPD they have undertaken, any variation in their plans and an assessment of their future learning objectives.
  • REFLECT: reflect on their planned and completed CPD activities to assess whether they have met their objectives.
  • REPORT: declare to the Bar Standards Board annually that they have completed their CPD. This is completed as part of the authorisation to practise process, when practising certificates are renewed.

The changes to the Rules in the BSB Handbook which will govern the new scheme have been approved by the Legal Services Board (LSB).

The guidance has been developed after a formal consultation process and after input from barristers around the country who attended a series of workshops hosted by the BSB about the new scheme. The template will help barristers to set their objectives, structure their CPD plans and demonstrate how to record their reflections.

BSB Director General, Dr Vanessa Davies said: "I was very pleased to see many barristers eager to understand their new CPD requirements at our recent workshops around the country. After a thorough consultation process, which included a pilot scheme during 2015 with 76 barristers, we are looking forward to the new regime starting on 1 January. The guidance and template have been designed to help barristers to comply with the new rules. The new approach to CPD should give the public confidence that barristers are committed to developing their knowledge and skills. We believe that this will help to ensure that clients continue to receive the high standard of service that they can expect from barristers."

Dr Davies hosted a live webinar on 10 November, which is still available to watch on our website.

The regulator has been communicating extensively with barristers over the past few months to raise awareness of the impending changes to CPD. It is also emailing individual barristers about the finalised guidance.

To read more about the new CPD scheme, please visit our website.


Notes to editors

About the Bar Standards Board

Our mission is to regulate barristers and their professional practice and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales in the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t

Contact: For all media enquiries call: 0207 611 1452 or email press@barstandardsboard.org.uk.