On 1 July 2015, the Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015 came into effect. The new CPD rules are part of the new framework for practising law in NSW introduced by the commencement of the Legal Profession Uniform Law. To help you stay CPD compliant, we have put together a list of the top five things you need to know about the new NSW CPD rules.
1. New Compulsory Field: Substantive Law
Rule 6.1 adds a new compulsory field called “Substantive Law”. This means NSW solicitors now need to earn 4 compulsory CPD units each CPD year, one unit from each of these four fields:
- Ethics and Professional Responsibility;
- Practice Management and Business Skills;
- Professional Skills; and
- Substantive Law.
2. Regulation 176 Requirement Removed
Under the old CPD rules, NSW solicitors were required to earn 1 CPD unit every 3 years which satisfied the requirements of Regulation 176 of the Legal Profession Regulation 2005. Regulation 176 CPD courses need to relate to the management of the practice of law and deal predominantly with equal opportunity, discrimination and harassment, occupational health and safety, and employment law.
The requirement for NSW solicitors to earn CPD units which satisfy Regulation 176 of the Legal Profession Regulation 2005 has been removed by the new CPD rules.
3. Online CPD activities
The new CPD rules maintain the same requirements for online CPD activities as former MCLE Rule 57. This means that NSW solicitors can continue to earn 1 CPD unit per hour and an unlimited number of CPD units each year by completing web-based or online CPD programs.
All of LawCPD’s online CPD courses are classified as web-based or online CPD programs. This means that you can continue to earn as many CPD units as they wish by completing LawCPD’s online CPD courses.
4. Common Ground
The new CPD rules keep a number of other requirements found in former MCLE Rule 57. For example, NSW solicitors:
- can still carry over a maximum of 3 CPD units accrued in the period 1 January to 31 March in any CPD year to the following CPD year;
- are still required to keep a record of their CPD activities for at least 3 years after the end of each CPD year;
- are still required to submit their CPD records to the NSW Law Society for verification if they are selected in the annual CPD audit.
NSW solicitors can track how many CPD units they have earned with LawCPD each year through their MyCPD page. The MyCPD page provides a record of the dates each online CPD course was completed, which can be provided to the NSW Law Society in the event of a CPD audit. You can also download PDF certificates for each online CPD course you complete with LawCPD.
5. The New CPD Rules Start Now!
The new CPD rules apply for the current CPD year, which means it is very important for all NSW solicitors to get up to speed quickly to ensure you can comply with your 2016 practising certificate renewal obligations.