27 August 2016

Continuing Professional Development


  • Barristers no longer have to return their CPD cards to the BSB; 
  • All barristers must still undertake their CPD hours and keep their record cards; 
  • The BSB has started conducting random spot-checks of barristers' CPD cards.


The BSB conducts random spot-checks of barristers' CPD record cards. This is to ensure that barristers keep their record cards updated and undertake their set number of CPD hours.

This is a key move towards smarter regulation, saving time and money. It will also protect 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.

Those selected for spot-checking will be asked for evidence of completion of their CPD hours and their record card. The BSB is accepting a wide range of evidence and barristers are encouraged to provide their own examples, which could include:

  • Certificate of attendance or;
  • Letter from University if taking or teaching a course; 
  • Course materials or course invoices
  • Test results if applicable; and 
  • Booking confirmation or other correspondence with course provider. 

We encourage barristers to provide their own evidence and we are flexible about the types of evidence that can be submitted.

For many barristers, the provision of evidence has not presented any practical difficulties. But we recognise that not all are in the same position. A barrister would not be considered non-compliant solely because they have not retained evidence. Instead, the CPD assessment team will take a proactive approach to contacting course providers to verify attendance if barristers have been unable to provide evidence themselves. In the case of CPD activities where it is impossible to verify completion - for example, with certain online courses - we would accept a barrister's declaration of completion. Any barristers who have been selected for spot-checking and are concerned about potential difficulties providing evidence can get in touch with our CPD team via cpdrecords@barstandardsboard.org.uk

Potentially, any practising barrister undertaking CPD through the Established Practitioner Programme could be contacted for spot-checking. Barristers who completed the final year of New Practitioners Programme in 2013 could also be contacted for spot-checking.

A sample of barristers have been selected entirely at random. In addition, those who have a recent history of having had enforcement action taken against them for a breach of the rules have also been selected to participate in the spot check.

Barristers who have failed to complete their required CPD hours will be considered by the BSB on a case by case basis. In most cases they will need to complete their remaining hours, within a set time frame. Those who are persistently non-compliant will ultimately face enforcement action.

For more information, please see our FAQs or email cpdrecords@barstandardsboard.org.uk.