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The abolishment of CPD Training

Posted by
10 Dec 2014
On the 21st May this year, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) implemented a new approach towards CPD.
 
Previously, it has been mandatory for solicitors to obtain 16 points each year, which has been a way of regulating and ensuring that they have undertaken the training necessary to be up to date with the law and training in the field. As of the 1st November 2016, it will no longer be compulsory for solicitors to obtain 16 CPD points, instead the SRA has said that solicitors will have to maintain a 'proper standard of service' by:
  • "Reflecting on the quality of their practice by reference to our proposed Competence Statement for solicitors and addressing identified learning and development needs.
  • "Making an annual declaration that they have considered their training needs and taken measures to maintain their competence"
So what are the pros and cons of this new approach?
 
Pros:
 
1. The cost of the courses for both individuals and employers which can total hundreds of pounds per individual each year
2. Less time spent out of the office attending courses, which can sometimes last a number of days
3. This will now provide the opportunity for an individual to identify key training that they need specifically, rather than attending courses that are not necessarily of benefit, but that they are simply attending to 'tick a box'
 
Cons:
 
1. How can it be ensured that solicitors are keeping up with the law and recent legislation? Elinor Billing (solicitor) said that "some colleagues were concerned that the change would dilute the competence of solicitors and diminish public trust in the profession"
2. More responsibility on employers to ensure employees are undertaking the relevant training
3. Lack of credibility - showing that you have undertaken training and development shows that you are interested and committed to the legal profession
 
Ultimately, the responsibility of ensuring that a solicitor is up to date with training and development is going to be down to the individual. As a qualified solicitor, I think that most will recognise the need for, and actively seek out training, as anyone with professional integrity and standards will want to make sure that they are fully up to speed with recent case law, and solidify any gaps in knowledge. Not only this, but the SRA states that the individual must be providing 'competent legal services'. This statement seems quite vague - only time will tell what impact this will have on the profession. Perhaps in a few years time compulsory CPD points will be introduced.
 
What do you think about the changes? Do you think that CPD points should remain compulsory or are you in favour of the new approach? Let us know in the comment box below

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