MCLE and CPD Rules for NSW lawyers | LawCPD.com.au
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MCLE and CPD Rules for NSW lawyers

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The mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) requirements are different for barristers and solicitors in New South Wales.  Click on the links below to find out more about the rules for:

NSW Solicitors

Law Society of NSW continuing professional development requirements are set out in Rule 6.1 of the Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Solicitors) Rules 2015 (formerly MCLE Rule 57) Complying with the requirements of the NSW legal CPD scheme is a mandatory condition for the renewal of a NSW practising certificate.

CPD Activities

Under the Law Society of NSW CPD scheme, a legal CPD activity must be an activity:

  • 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;
  • that extends the solicitor’s knowledge and skills in areas that are relevant to the solicitor’s practice needs or professional development.

A legal CPD activity must consist of one of the activities set out in CPD Rule 8.1 to comply with the Law Society of NSW legal CPD scheme. 

LawCPD’s online CPD courses are classified as an online CPD or web based program under legal CPD Rule 8.1 (formerly MCLE Rule 57).  This means that NSW solicitors can earn 1 legal CPD unit per hour and all 10 legal CPD units annually by completing LawCPD’s online CPD courses.

Annual CPD Requirements

According the Law Society of NSW legal CPD scheme, solicitors must earn 10 CPD units every legal CPD year (1 April – 31 March annually).

Under legal CPD Rule 6.1 (formerly MCLE Rule 57) NSW solicitors must earn a minimum of 1 legal CPD unit from each of the following four compulsory fields:

  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility;
  • Practice Management and Business Skills; 
  • Professional Skills; and
  • Substantive Law.

Solicitors may determine which field a legal CPD activity fits according to the context and content of the activity. LawCPD has allocated fields (or competency areas) to all of the online CPD courses on the LawCPD site to assist solicitors with this task.

Record Keeping and Auditing

Under the Law Society of NSW legal CPD scheme, solicitors must maintain a record of their own legal CPD activities. Solicitors should also keep supporting documentation of their legal CPD activities for at least 3 years.

Solicitors will be required to declare whether or not they have complied with the Law Society of NSW legal CPD scheme when they renew their practising certificates.

The Law Society of NSW CPD audit occurs annually. The Law Society audits solicitors’ CPD records to monitor compliance with the NSW legal CPD scheme.  Solicitors who are chosen as part of the audit are required to submit details of their legal CPD activities to establish proof of compliance with the NSW legal CPD scheme (formerlyMCLE Rule 57). 

LawCPD provides solicitors 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.  Solicitors can print a copy of this page and provide it to the Law Society of NSW in the event that they are audited for compliance with the NSW legal CPD 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 NSW legal CPD scheme if the solicitor is audited by the Law Society of NSW.

Further Information

For full details of the Law Society of NSW legal CPD scheme and the CPD requirements for NSW solicitors, visit the Law Society of NSW website.

 

NSW Barristers

The CPD scheme for NSW Barristers is set out in the Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Barristers) Rules 2015 (NSW Barristers' CPD Rules).  Under this scheme, barristers are required to earn 10 legal CPD points each year.

CPD Activities

Under NSW Barristers' CPD Rules, a legal CPD 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; and
  • relevant to a barrister’s immediate or long term needs in relation to the practitioner's professional development and practice of the law.

Barristers earn 1 legal CPD point for each hour of engagement in a CPD actiity. The NSW Bar Association has undertaken that it will accredit LawCPD's online CPD seminars on a post-course completion basis.  This means that barristers who are members of the NSW Bar Association who complete LawCPD online CPD seminars will need to contact the Professional Development Department directly to get this activity accredited.

Annual CPD Requirements

According the NSW Barristers' CPD Rules, barristers must earn 10 legal CPD points every CPD year (1 April – 31 March annually).

NSW barristers must earn a minimum of 1 legal CPD point from each of the following four mandatory areas:

  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility;
  • Practice Management and Business Skills;
  • Substantive Law, Practice and Procedure, and Evidence; and
  • Barristers’ Skills.

LawCPD’s online CPD seminars are classified as an individual professional development activity, which means that they do not count towards any of the mandatory areas.

Record Keeping and Auditing

Under the NSW Barristers' CPD Rules, barristers must maintain a record of their own legal CPD activities. Barristers should also keep supporting documentation of their legal CPD activities.

Barristers will be required to declare whether or not they have complied with the NSW Barristers' CPD Rules when they renew their practising certificates.

LawCPD provides barristers with a personalised page (MyCPD) which tracks all their learning in real time and provides a record of all legal CPD points earned through LawCPD. Barristers can print a copy of this page and provide it to the NSW Bar Association in the event that they are audited for compliance with the NSW Barristers' CPD Rules.

LawCPD also provides printable certificates for each online CPD seminar completed which can be downloaded from the MyCPD page. These certificates may also be provided to prove compliance with the NSW Barristers' CPD Rules if the barrister is audited by the NSW Bar Association.

Further Information

For full details of the Bar Association of NSW CPD scheme and the CPD requirements for NSW barristers, visit the NSW Bar Association website.