Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Condition 1 is a statutory condition imposed on an Australian practising certificate pursuant to s.52 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW). This condition requires the certificate holder to comply with applicable requirements of the Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015 .
The CPD year runs from 1 April to 31 March the following year.
You are required to complete ten (10) CPD units each year. Within those ten (10) units you must include at least one (1) CPD unit every year in each of the following compulsory fields:
1. Ethics and Professional Responsibility;
2. Practice Management and Business skills;
3. Professional Skills; and
4. Substantive Law.
Newly admitted solicitors and solicitors returning from a break in practice
If you have recently commenced holding a practising certificate for the first time or have recommenced practice after a break you may have different CPD requirements for the initial period. See CPD Rule 10.
Attaining your CPD units
The CPD scheme is based on self-assessment of educational activities. If you assess that an activity extends your knowledge and skills in areas that are relevant to your practice needs or professional development, then you can claim the activity towards satisfaction of the CPD requirements. See CPD Rule 7.
There are a variety of ways to meet your CPD requirements. These include seminars, workshops, lectures, conference, discussion groups, multimedia or web-based programs, private study of audio/visual material, postgraduate study, research, preparation and editing of articles, membership and attendance at committees of professional bodies, successful completion of specialist accreditation assessment process, preparation and presentation of seminars. The complete list can be found in CPD Rule 8.
Cap on certain activities
The following table details the calculation of CPD Units and the maximum number of units that can be claimed per activity undertaken in accordance with Rule 9:
Calculation of 1 CPD unit for the activity
Maximum units that can be undertaken
seminar, workshop, lecture, conference, discussion group, multimedia or web-based program etc.
private study of audio/visual material
research, preparation or editing of a legal article
preparation or presentation of CPD activities
membership of a legal committee, taskforce or practice section
CPD Record Keeping
The CPD Rules require solicitors to keep their own record of their CPD activities. The Society provides a template to assist in this - Record of CPD Activities.
Please use the form to list your CPD activities and the associated CPD points for the year. Please keep the form as your own record and provide a copy to the Society upon request.
Please review the record at the end of the CPD year and ensure that you have complied with all the units including the compulsory fields. You must also keep evidence in support of the activities noted on this form. Evidence can include attendance records, receipts, in house CPD records, emails confirming registration etc.
Please note that Members of the Law Society are able to keep their CPD record online through LawInform.
CPD Rectification of non compliance
If you have been absent from practice (parental leave, sick leave, unemployment etc) or your personal circumstances have made it difficult for you to meet your CPD requirements for the year you may be entitled to an exemption. If you have been in practice for 40 years or more and do not practise as a principal you may be entitled to an ongoing exemption. Requests for Exemptions are not granted automatically and the Committee must be satisfied that there are extenuating circumstances warranting the exemption. Request for Exemption from CPD Requirements.
If you have been unable to comply with the CPD requirements but are not eligible for an exemption you can apply to request an extension of time to complete the requirements. Please note that you will need to submit a CPD rectification plan for approval by the Licensing Committee. Request for Extension of Time to Comply with CPD Requirements.
CPD Verification (Audit)
The Law Society verifies compliance with the CPD scheme by a random audit of solicitors each year. The initial contact is by email from the Registry Compliance Team and requires the solicitor to provide their CPD record and evidence in support of the record within twenty one (21) days.
Accredited Specialists selected for the audit are only required to provide a list of the ten (10) units that they attained for the purpose of renewing their practising certificate not the ten (10) units they have attained for the purpose of renewing their specialist accreditation.
You may carry over a maximum of three (3) units from the previous CPD year if you attained the extra units between January and March. These units can only be counted towards one (1) CPD year.
Practising overseas – If you are practising as a solicitor overseas you need to attain the CPD units. However you may attain them in the jurisdiction in which you are practising.
Practice Management Course – You may claim the successful completion of a Practice Management Course towards your CPD requirements.
Part time practice – You are entitled to a pro rata exemption if you are practising part time or on a casual basis.
Please see the Request for Exemption from CPD Requirements form.
Assessing CPD activity for compulsory fields – There is a non exhaustive list of topics in the CPD Comprehensive Guide, which outlines the variety of topics that can be completed in each of the fields.
If your question is not answered above please see CPD Comprehensive Guide for further FAQ
Notes for providers:
The system of self-assessment underpinning the CPD scheme requires individual practitioners to determine the number of CPD units for which they will claim credit. The Society suggests that providers use one of the following statements on brochures in preference to making any specific reference to CPD points or units.
Version A - long version
CPD activities are not accredited by the Law Society. If this particular educational activity extends your knowledge and skills in areas that are relevant to your practice needs or professional development, then you should claim one (1) "unit” for each hour of attendance, refreshment breaks not included.
The annual requirement is ten (10) CPD units each year from 1 April to 31 March.
Version B - short version
If this particular educational activity extends your knowledge and skills in areas that are relevant to your practice needs or professional development, then you should claim one (1) "unit” for each hour of attendance, refreshment breaks not included.
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