Information on CPD

New South Wales Bar Association Policy on CPD

[Bar Council resolution 23 August 2012]

  1. Honour system
    1. Barristers are required to keep their own record of CPD activity. Barristers will be required to affirm compliance with CPD when applying to renew their practising certificate.
    2. There is no prescribed form for the record.
    3. A barrister must have a reasonable basis for being satisfied that any activity recorded as CPD activity meets the CPD criteria (see item 8 below)
  2. Points
    1. A "point" equals one hour of CPD activity.
  3. CPD Year
    1. Unless otherwise indicated, the period for accumulating CPD points commences on 1 April each year and ends on 31 March the following year.
  4. "Clause 176 Requirement" and "Reader Requirement"
    1. The Legal Profession Regulation 2005 clause 176 refers to the special requirement regarding mandatory continuing legal education. The clause has been reproduced at the end of this document. For the purposes of this policy, “component” means one point (Clause 176 Requirement).
    2. The Bar Association requires readers, as an additional requirement, to attend 6 points of CPD activity during their reading year specifically directed to new barristers (“Reader Requirement”). Such activity comprises:
      1. CPD seminars or workshops organised by the New Barristers' Committee; and
      2. any other activity which is specified by the Bar Association as satisfying the Reader Requirement.
  5. Exemption or reduction for CPD
    1. Barristers who hold a practising certificate for less than 12 months duration have their formal points requirements proportionately reduced as follows.

      This table applies to readers or for practising certificates issued to a lawyer returning to the Bar following a period of absence:

      • August
        - 6 points are required
      • September
        - 5 points are required
      • October
        - 4 points are required
      • November
        - 3 points are required
      • December
        - 2 points are required
      • January
        - 1 point is required
      • February
        - 1 point is required
      • March
        - 0 points are required
      • April
        - 0 points are required
      • May
        - 0 point are required
      • June
        - 0 points are required

    2. Where a practising certificate is issued during or after August it is not necessary that the required points be accumulated on the basis of a minimum of one in each of the four strands.
    3. Barristers whose practice has been significantly disrupted due to ill health or other personal circumstances, including for parenting reasons, may apply to the Executive Director for exemption from or reduction in the CPD requirements.
    4. Barristers who seek a reduction or exemption from the CPD requirements need to set out fully in their application to the Executive Director the reasons why it was not or will not be possible to meet the formal annual CPD requirements, bearing in mind the existence of CPD conferences, the intensive ‘refresher series' conducted at the end of the CPD year and the various other ways points may be earned, including study groups using CPD video presentations and the Bar Association on-line CPD series.
    5. Members of Parliament and certain statutory office holders are exempt from the CPD requirement.
    6. Barristers normally resident in New South Wales whose practices will be primarily interstate for the bulk of the practice year are not exempt from the CPD requirements. In these cases, the Director, Professional Development, may vary the requirement that a minimum of one point must be accumulated in each of the four strands.
  6. "Standard strands" and "Special strands"
    1. There are four standard strands for CPD activity:
      • Ethics and Regulation of the Profession;
      • Management;
      • Substantive Law, Practice and Procedure, and Evidence;
      • Advocacy, Mediation, and other Barristers' Skills.
    2. The following are Special Strands:
      • the Clause 176 Requirement; and
      • the Reader Requirement
  7. Minimum points.
    1. Other than readers, a barrister must accrue a minimum of 10 points of CPD Activity every CPD Year.
    2. Each CPD year a barrister must accrue a minimum of one point in each of the four standard CPD strands.
    3. A reader must accrue a minimum of 10 points during the CPD Year and, for every two months the barrister is a reader during the CPD Year, accrue 1 CPD point which satisfies the Reader Requirement.
    4. A barrister must accrue a minimum of one point every 3 years which satisfies the Clause 176 Requirement.
    5. A barrister must accrue four points from face-to-face activity (see item 9 below).
  8. CPD criteria
    1. Any activity claimed for CPD must meet the CPD criteria. The CPD criteria are that the activity must be:
      • Of significant intellectual or practical content and must deal primarily with matters directly related to the practice of law;
      • Conducted by persons who are qualified by practical or academic experience in the subject covered;
      • Relevant to a practitioner's immediate or long term needs in relation to the practitioner's professional development as a barrister and practice of the law.
    2. Individual barristers are responsible for ensuring that the CPD activity in question meets the CPD criteria, prior to claiming CPD points for that CPD activity. The Bar Association no longer grants accreditation for CPD activity.
    3. CPD activity may be face-to-face activity, or individual professional development activity.
    4. Examples include:
      • Teaching;
      • Training;
      • Learning;
      • Being a trainee;
      • Chairing;
      • Convening;
      • Mentoring;
      • Research and writing;
      • Law reporting.
  9. "Face-to-face activity"
    1. Face-to-face activity means the barrister is present with other barristers, whether as a teacher, a learner, or a chairperson, at the same time that the CPD activity occurs whether that presence is physical or assisted by technological means such as by video-streaming over the internet.
  10. Programmes that can provide CPD points
    1. CPD points may be accrued from seminars and programmes provided by the:
      • The New South Wales Bar Association;
      • Groupings and bodies of barristers for their members, eg, floors, chambers, Public Defenders, rown Prosecutors, regional barristers, etc; study groups of barristers (minimum of 2 barristers) provided they follow the Protocol for Barristers Seeking to Conduct CPD Activity Within Groupings to Which They Belong (at the end of this document);
      • Sections, forums, and committees of the Bar Association;
      • the Law Society of NSW the Law Council of Australia or other providers as long as the particular CPD activity meets the CPD criteria
  11. Teachers, instructors and chairpersons
    1. Teaching may be in:
      • CPD
      • Continuing Legal Education (Law Society MCLE)
      • Bar exams tutoring programme
      • Bar Practice Course and associated readers' educational and training activity
      • Undergraduate and Postgraduate
      • Public legal education
      • Legal education for community groups
      • Legal education in schools, e.g. teaching students debating skills
    2. Teaching, taking into account the subject-matter, mode, and context, must meet the CPD criteria. One point per hour of teaching and preparation, up to a maximum of three hours for any single one hour teaching session, may be accumulated from this activity.
    3. A barrister who conducts a CPD activity of longer than one hour's duration may claim additional points for the preparation time associated with each hour of presentation. For example, a three hour workshop which took twenty hours to prepare would attract (1 + 2) plus (1 + 2) plus (1 + 2) = 9 points. A barrister can claim a maximum of two points for preparation for each hour of delivery.
  12. Individual Professional Development Activity (IPDA)
    1. Such activity must meet the CPD criteria.
    2. A maximum of six of the required ten points may be attributed to IPDA.
    3. Examples of IPDA include:
      • Legal research and writing for publication;
      • Post graduate legal studies;
      • viewing the Bar Association's CPDs on-line;
      • Engagement, whether as a convenor or a mentor in a Bar Council approved mentoring scheme;
      • Marking Bar Exams (maximum of two points per exam, up to a maximum of six points p.a.);
      • Preparing, editing, revising etc., papers, reading guides, materials, mock trials, mooting problems, model answers etc., for the Bar Exams, Bar Practice Course, or CPD programme;
      • Preparing curricula, reading guides, teaching materials etc for strands of CPD.
      • Watching a video / DVD or listening to an audio tape, podcast or similar that meets the CPD criteria.
    4. IPDA may be in any of the four CPD strands and counts towards the required points total.
  13. Bar Practice Course (BPC)
    1. Instructors, lecturers and other presenters in the Bar Practice Course may count each teaching hour, and the maximum of two hours preparation for each such teaching hour. For example, participation in a three hour mock trial, preceded by ten hours preparation for the trial, would produce (1 + 2) plus (1 + 2) plus (1 + 2) = 9 points. Each hour devoted to the Bar Practice Course may be allocated to any of the four strands at the discretion of the barrister. Therefore, the barrister who accumulated nine points in the above example may allocate them over the four strands.
    2. Barristers who devote time to the preparation of mock trials, reading guides, papers and other materials for use in the Bar Practice Course may claim such time as Individual Professional Development Activity, on the basis of one point per hour, up to a maximum of six points.
  14. Activities which do not satisfy the CPD criteria
    1. Floor meetings, meetings of the Bar Council, Bar committees, sections or forums, computer training or assistance, therapy, personal training, and life coaching are examples of activities that do NOT satisfy the CPD criteria.
  15. Lists of CPD activity
    1. Lists of seminars, conferences, and other events satisfying the CPD criteria and the number of CPD points attributable is maintained on the Bar Association web site,
23 August 2012

Protocol for barristers seeking to conduct CPD activity within groupings to which they belong

Groupings of barristers

  1. Floors, chambers, regional Bars, bodies such as the Public Defenders, the Crown Prosecutors, and Parliamentary Counsel, and other groupings of barristers, including those based on a particular activity, for example, service in the Navy Reserve, may provide their own CPD programmes.
  2. It is not necessary that such programmes be accredited.
  3. Groupings of barristers intending to organise their own CPD may discuss with the Director, Professional Development, plans and strategies, and should provide an outline of what is planned. It is not necessary that full details of every seminar delivered in such a programme be provided to the Director, Professional Development.
  4. As with all CPD activity, barristers engaged in such programmes must keep their own records of their CPD activity.
  5. Details of how barristers responsible for planning, organisation and delivery of such programmes may accumulate CPD points in addition to those gained from attendance, are contained in the New South Wales Bar Association Policy on CPD.
  6. Small Study Groups

  7. Groups of barristers, with a minimum of two in number, may organise their own study groups for CPD purposes.
  8. Bar Association videos, CPD papers, and other materials accessed via the website, or through borrowing from the Bar Association library, may provide the basis for discussion in these study groups.
  9. It may well be that such study groups are organised on behalf of groups of barristers by their clerk. The CPD programme and other materials published on the website will be useful in this context.
  10. Bar Association videos or other Association material need not be used. In order for small group study to count for CPD, the group could study a written statement of a current issue which one of them has brought into effect, a recent article, a recent judgment, or some other significant material.
  11. The material to be studied may be viewed, listened to, read or otherwise considered outside the study group period.
  12. There must be some formality, a list of issues, a plan, some discussion points, or some other structure. The CPD criteria set out in New South Wales Bar Association Policy on CPD apply.
  13. Where small groups of barristers wish to address their CPD requirements through the medium of a study group, it is not necessary that they notify the Director, Professional Development, of their planned arrangements, and/or of the outcome of their plans.

    Such small group study sessions do not have to be accredited. However, they must follow the protocol, as set out herein, and participating barristers must keep individual notes of their contribution and participation.

Clause 176 Mandatory continuing legal education - special requirement

  • (1) If the holder of a local practising certificate is required to undertake continuing legal education, that continuing legal education must include a component relating to the management of the practice of law that deals predominantly with the following issues:
    • (a) the principles of equal employment opportunity,
    • (b) the law relating to discrimination and harassment,
    • (c) occupational health and safety law,
    • (d) employment law,
    • (e) the management of legal practice consistent with paragraphs (a)–(d).
  • That component is to be undertaken at least once in every compliance period, or such shorter period as may be determined by the appropriate Council, and is to comprise at least one unit in the units of continuing legal education that the holder of the practising certificate is required to undertake.
  • In this clause:

    compliance period means:
    • (a) in relation to a person who was the holder of a local practising certificate at 2 April 2004:
      • (i) the period starting on 2 April 2004 and ending on 31 March 2007, and
      • (ii) each further period of 3 years ending on the third anniversary of the expiration of the previous period, or
    • (b) in relation to a person who became or becomes the holder of a local practising certificate after 2 April 2004:
      • (i) the period starting on the date the person became or becomes the holder of a local practising certificate and ending on 31 March in the year that is 3 years after the start of the period, and
      • (ii) each further period of 3 years ending on the third anniversary of the expiration of the previous period. continuing legal education means continuing legal education that the holder of a local practising certificate is required to undertake under the conditions attached to the certificate.