21 August 2019

Continuing Professional Development - from 1 January 2017

A new CPD scheme was introduced on 1 January 2017, The BSB has conducted a thorough review of the CPD regime for established barristers and the following changes have been put into place.

  • Established practitioners must now create a CPD plan which includes objectives, CPD activities, and reflection of the process overall.
  • There is no longer a requirement to undertake a minimum number of CPD hours every year.
  • No barrister is required to undertake accredited CPD courses.

Under the previous CPD scheme, established practitioners were required to undertake a minimum of 12 CPD hours every calendar year. At least four of these hours had to be accredited. Under the new scheme which began on 1 January 2017, neither established practitioners or new practitioners are required to undertake accredited CPD activities. CPD providers no longer must obtain accreditation from the BSB to provide CPD courses. 

This has been a move towards smarter regulation, saving time and money. It has also protected the public more effectively by focussing on the minority of barristers not keeping their training up to date. We have been encouraged by the significant number of responses we have received and the engagement from the Bar since we changed to the spot-check process. Prior to this change, we required all practising members of the Bar to submit their record cards annually to the BSB for monitoring checks. A commitment to the constant updating of knowledge and skills is the hallmark of being a professional and the BSB has a statutory responsibility to assure the public, independently, that they can rely on barristers as being up to date and competent. Once you receive your full practising certificate as a barrister, you are therefore required to comply with the BSB Handbook rules about completing CPD.

On "day one" of your practice as a barrister after pupillage, you have to meet the requirements of the Professional Statement, which outlines the knowledge, skills and attributes expected of you as a practising barrister. To make sure that you continue to meet those requirements and that you continue to develop your relevant knowledge and skills, you are required to undertake CPD. During your first three full years as a practising barrister, you must comply with the CPD rules within the New Practitioners Programme (NPP). Once you have practised for more than three full years, you must comply with rules within the Established Practitioners Programme (EPP).

As your regulator, we will check whether you are complying with your CPD requirements by spot checking a sample of barristers' CPD records on both the NPP and the EPP.