CPD Requirements for South Australian Lawyers
South Australian practitioners can earn 1 CPD unit per hour and up to 5 CPD units each year by completing LawCPD’s online CPD courses.
The SA Law Society introduced a mandatory continuing legal education scheme for SA practitioners which commenced on 1 April 2011. Complying with the requirements of the MCPD scheme is a mandatory condition for the renewal of a practicing certificate pursuant to section 14C of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981.
Under the MCPD scheme introduced by the SA Law Society, a legal CPD activity must be:
- of significant intellectual or practical content and must deal primarily with matters related to the practice of law;
- conducted by persons who are qualified by practical or academic experience in the subject covered;
- relevant to the immediate or long term professional development needs of the legal practitioner undertaking it.
A legal CPD activity must consist of one of the activities set out in Rule 1 of the LPEAC Rules.
LawCPD’s online CPD courses are classified as a multi-media or web-based program under Rule 1(d)(ii) of the LPEAC Rules. This means that SA practitioners can earn 1 legal CPD unit per hour and up to 5 legal CPD units annually by completing LawCPD’s online CPD courses.
Due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, LPEAC has stated that SA practitioners may claim an unlimited number of legal CPD units by viewing recorded material or completing multimedia or web based programs for the 2019/2020 CPD year. This means that SA practitioners can claim all 10 CPD points by completing LawCPD’s online courses for the 2019/2020 CPD year.
Annual MCPD Requirements
According to the LPEAC Rules, practitioners must complete 10 legal CPD units in every CPD year (1 April – 31 March annually). SA practitioners must earn a minimum of 1 legal CPD unit from each of the following three required areas:
Practitioners may determine which core area a legal CPD activity fits according to the context and content of the activity. LawCPD has allocated required CPD areas all of the online CPD courses on the LawCPD site to assist practitioners with this task.
In March 2020, LPEAC announced that the MCPD deadline for all SA practitioners would be extended to 30 June 2020 to account for the disruption caused by COVID-19. The 2020/2021 CPD year still commenced on 1 April 2020 and runs until 31 March 2021.
Record Keeping and Auditing
Under the mandatory continuing legal education (MCPD) scheme, practitioners must maintain their own MCPD records. Records must include the name of the legal CLE activity completed, the date, provider, form of activity and legal CPD units earned. A pro forma record is available to download from the SA Law Society MCPD page.
Within 14 days of the end of the CPD year (by 14 April), practitioners will need to provide to the SA Law Society a certificate confirming that they have complied with the requirements of the continuing legal education scheme in respect of the previous CPD year. A pro forma certificate is available on the SA Law Society MCPD page.
The SA Law Society may also conduct an annual random audit of practitioners’ legal CPD records to monitor compliance with the MCPD scheme.
LawCPD provides practitioners with a personalised page (MyCPD) which tracks all their learning in real time and provides a record of all legal CPD units earned through LawCPD. Practitioners can print a copy of this page and provide it to the SA Law Society in the event that they are audited for compliance with the mandatory continuing legal education scheme.
LawCPD also provides printable certificates for each online CPD course completed which can be downloaded from the MyCPD page. These certificates may also be provided to prove compliance with the MCPD scheme if the practitioner is audited by the SA Law Society.
For full details of the mandatory continuing legal education (MCPD) scheme and the requirements for SA practitioners, visit the SA Law Society website.