SRA Training Regulations 2011 - Part 3 CPD Regulations

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SRA Training Regulations 2011 Part 3 - CPD Regulations

Introduction to the Training Regulations Part 3 - CPD Regulations

Preamble

Authority: Made on 17 June 2011 by the Solicitors Regulation Authority Board under sections 2, 28, 79 and 80 of the Solicitors Act 1974, with the approval of the Legal Services Board under paragraph 19 of Schedule 4 to the Legal Services Act 2007

Date: These regulations came into force on 6 October 2011

Replacing: The Solicitors' Training Regulations 2009

Regulating: Solicitors and RELs and their post-qualification, or post registration, education and training requirements.

Overview

Outcomes-focused regulation concentrates on providing positive outcomes which when achieved will benefit and protect clients and the public. These regulations, together with the SRA Training Regulations Part 1 - Qualification Regulations and Part 2 - Training Provider Regulations, form the SRA Training Regulations, which set out the outcomes-focused requirements governing the education and training for people seeking to be admitted as solicitors, and those in practice.

These regulations govern the ongoing training of those practising as solicitors and RELs.

Education and training performs the underpinning, fundamental role in regulating solicitors - the creation and maintenance of competent and ethical practitioners. We regulate post-qualification training in order to give solicitors and RELs the tools they need to adhere to the Principles.

The Principles

These regulations form part of the Handbook, in which the 10 mandatory Principles are all-pervasive. They apply to all those we regulate and underpin all aspects of practice. Outcomes relevant to education and training are listed beneath the Principles.

You must:

  1. uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice;
  2. act with integrity;
  3. not allow your independence to be compromised;
  4. act in the best interests of each client;
  5. provide a proper standard of service to your clients;
  6. behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services;
  7. comply with your legal and regulatory obligations and deal with your regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner;
  8. run your business or carry out your role in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles;
  9. run your business or carry out your role in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity; and
  10. protect client money and assets.
Outcome

The outcome which applies to these regulations is that:

O(TR1)

you maintain competence through relevant ongoing training.

This outcome, and the regulations that flow from it, applies to solicitors admitted in England and Wales and RELs.

Part 1: Interpretation

Regulation 1: Interpretation and definitions
1.1

The SRA Handbook Glossary 2012 shall apply and, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a)

all italicised terms shall be defined; and

(b)

all terms within these regulations shall be interpreted;

in accordance with the Glossary.

Regulation 2: Application of these regulations
2.1

These regulations apply to your obligations regarding CPD.

2.2

All solicitors and RELs are required to undertake CPD. Non-compliance could lead to disciplinary procedures and/or delays in the issue of your practising certificate.

2.3

These regulations do not apply to RFLs.

Part 2: Basic requirement

Regulation 3: Basic CPD requirement
3.1

You must undertake 16 hours of CPD during each complete CPD year in legal practice or employment in England and Wales.

3.2

If you work part-time the requirements are reduced, in accordance with regulation 7.

Guidance note:

(i)

Any hours accrued over and above the 16 hours per year minimum cannot be carried over to the next CPD year.

(ii)

Separate legislation may detail further CPD requirements. For example, the SRA Higher Rights of Audience Regulations require five hours of the annual CPD requirement to be undertaken relating to the provision of advocacy services in the higher courts in each of the first five CPD years following the grant of the higher rights qualification.

Part 3: Requirements for new solicitors/RELs

Regulation 4: CPD requirement during the first three years of admission
4.1

If you are a solicitor, in the first three CPD years following admission you must attend the SRA Management Course Stage 1.

4.2

A minimum of three topics must be covered on the SRA Management Course Stage 1 from the list below:

(a)

Managing finance;

(b)

Managing the firm;

(c)

Managing client relationships;

(d)

Managing information;

(e)

Managing people.

4.3

If you are an REL, you are not required to attend the SRA Management Course Stage 1.

4.4

You can make a written request to us for exemption from the SRA Management Course Stage 1 if you have, within the last five years:

(a)

gained significant experience of a solicitor's practice and of management issues as they arise in practice (and can provide examples of experience gained in at least three of the five topic areas of the course); or

(b)

attended a similar course, covering the same ground.

4.5

If you qualified by undertaking the QLTT you are also required to attend the Financial and Business Skills (but not required to attempt or pass the examination) and the Client Care and Professional Standards modules of the PSC during your first CPD year.

4.6

You are exempt from the requirement in regulation 4.5 to attend the two PSC modules if you:

(a)

undertook the LPC and PSC prior to admission;

(b)

sat the Professional Conduct and Accounts heads of the QLTT; or

(c)

are transferring from Scotland via the QLTT.

4.7

Regulations 4.5 and 4.6 do not apply to those qualifying via the QLTSR.

Guidance note:

(i)

The SRA Management Course Stage 1 is a course that requires at least seven hours' attendance. It can be completed in a single day or be undertaken on a modular basis, but it has to be completed in full before claiming CPD hours.

(ii)

In addition to the compulsory SRA Management Course Stage 1, there is an optional five hour course, the SRA Management Course Stage 2.

(iii)

Full guidance on both courses is available.

Regulation 5: CPD requirement during the first months after admission
5.1

You must undertake one hour of CPD for each whole month in legal practice or employment between your admission and the start of the next full CPD year.

Regulation 6: CPD requirement during the first months after registration with the SRA pursuant to the Establishment Directive
6.1

If you are an REL, you must undertake one hour of CPD for each whole month in legal practice or employment between the date of initial registration and the start of the next full CPD year.

Guidance note:

(i)

If your admission date or date of initial registration is 1 November, you will automatically enter into your first full CPD year and be required to complete 16 hours of CPD. This also applies in those years where 1 November falls at the weekend and you are admitted or initially registered the following week.

Regulation 7: Part-time employment
7.1

Notwithstanding regulations 7.2 and 7.3 and regulation 16, if you work part-time in legal practice or employment, your CPD requirements are reduced such that you must complete one hour of CPD each year for every two hours worked per week.

7.2

If you work part-time in a newly admitted or newly registered period, regulations 5 and 6 apply to the period worked between your admission or registration and the start of the next full CPD year.

7.3

If you work an average of fewer than two hours per week, you are permitted to suspend the CPD requirements.

7.4

Details of part-time working hours, with starting and finishing dates, should be entered in your CPD training record.

Guidance note:

(i)

For example, a solicitor working 10 hours per week must complete five hours of CPD each year.

(ii)

It may be necessary for you to keep a record of hours worked to enable you to calculate the average number of hours worked per week over the course of a year.

(iii)

If you work a variable number of hours each week you should calculate the average number of hours worked per week during the CPD year, and then halve this amount to calculate your CPD requirement for the year.

(iv)

For example, a solicitor who works an average of seven hours per week has an annual CPD requirement of three and a half hours.

(v)

Part hours worked should be rounded to the nearest whole hour.

Part 4: Activities

Regulation 8: CPD activities
8.1

At least 25 per cent of the CPD requirement must be met by participation in accredited courses.

8.2

The remaining 75 per cent of the CPD requirement may be met by further accredited courses or a wide range of other activities.

8.3

The CPD activity should be at an appropriate level and contribute to your general professional skill and knowledge, in order to count towards meeting your CPD requirements.

8.4

Attendance at a course means attendance at the complete course. Part attendance will not count at all towards your CPD requirement.

8.5

The responsibility for meeting the CPD requirements falls on you, not your employer.

Guidance note to 8.1:

(i)

For the purposes of the above regulation, an accredited course means a structured training session, delivered face-to-face or by distance learning, of one hour or more which has written aims and objectives, and is approved specifically for the purpose of compliance with our CPD requirements. Examples include:

(a)

face-to-face sessions including those delivered by an authorised distance learning provider;

(b)

a course wholly provided by distance learning which involves assessment by dissertation and written examination;

(c)

structured coaching sessions, delivered face-to-face, of one hour or more which have written aims and objectives, are documented showing an outcome and are provided by an organisation authorised by us;

(d)

structured mentoring sessions involving professional development, delivered face-to-face, of one hour or more which have written aims and objectives, are documented showing an outcome and are provided by an organisation authorised by us; or

(e)

webinars, i.e. courses broadcast via a website in real time where participants have contact with the speaker(s) and can ask questions and receive answers, and which are provided by an organisation authorised by us.

Guidance note to 8.2:

(i)

For the purposes of regulation 8.2, the following will be deemed to be activities:

(a)

participation in non-accredited courses;

(A)

preparing, delivering and/or attending courses, which are of particular relevance and benefit to an individual's area of work which last more than 30 minutes;

(B)

actual time may be claimed.

(b)

coaching and mentoring sessions of less than one hour;

(A)

structured coaching sessions and structured mentoring sessions involving professional development, delivered face-to-face lasting between 30 minutes and one hour which have written aims and objectives, are documented showing an outcome and are provided by an organisation authorised by us;

(B)

actual time may be claimed.

(c)

coaching and mentoring sessions delivered from a distance;

(A)

structured coaching sessions or structured mentoring sessions involving professional development, delivered from a distance (e.g. by webinars) of 30 minutes or more which have written aims and objectives, are documented showing an outcome and are provided by an organisation authorised by us;

(B)

actual time may be claimed.

(d)

writing on law or practice 

(A)

for example law books, journals, publications for clients, client's own publications, newspapers and magazines (whether legal publications or not), on the Internet;

(B)

topics may include, for example, law practice, issues arising from transactions, clients, markets, industries, products;

(C)

actual time may be claimed.

(e)

work shadowing;

(A)

participation in structured work shadowing schemes with clear aims and objectives and requiring feedback or reflection on the activity;

(B)

actual time may be claimed.

(f)

research;

(A)

research which relates to legal topics or has relevance to the practice/organisation which results in some form of written document, precedent, memorandum, questionnaire/survey etc;

(B)

actual time may be claimed.

(g)

production of a dissertation;

(A)

study for or production of a dissertation counting towards a qualification recognised by us;

(B)

actual time may be claimed.

(h)

watching DVDs, webinars, webcasts, podcasts, television broadcasts or videotapes and/or listening to audio podcasts, radio broadcasts or audio tapes offered by authorised CPD course providers or authorised distance learning providers;

(A)

actual time may be claimed.

(i)

distance learning courses where there is provision for the answering of enquiries or for discussion;

(A)

actual time may be claimed.

(j)

preparation and delivery of training courses forming part of the process of qualification or post admission training;

(A)

actual time may be claimed.

(k)

work towards the Qualification Credit Framework (QCF) awards relating to assessment, verification and/or quality assurance of competence-based assessment models (such as, for example, National Vocational Qualifications);

(A)

actual time spent building a portfolio of evidence and/or attending lectures, workshops, etc may be claimed.

(l)

participating in the development of specialist areas of law and practice by attending meetings of specialist committees and/or working parties of relevant professional or other competent bodies charged with such work;

(A)

actual time spent at meetings may be claimed.

(m)

work towards the achievement of an National Vocational Qualifications in any business-related area and at any level;

(A)

actual time spent building a portfolio of evidence and/or attending lectures, workshops, etc may be claimed.

(n)

study towards professional qualifications;

(A)

examination must be taken to claim time for study and examination itself;

(o)

actual time spent in study and examination may be claimed.

Regulation 9: Requirements for solicitors who have been RELs
9.1

If you are an REL and become admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales, regulations 3 and 5 shall apply as if you were a solicitor admitted on the date of initial registration and regulations 6 and 11 shall not apply.

9.2

Nothing in these regulations shall be taken as requiring you to meet the requirements of regulation 4 if you are a solicitor who has previously been an REL.

Part 5: Records

Regulation 10: Obligation to keep a CPD training record
10.1

You must keep a record of all CPD undertaken to comply with these regulations.

10.2

For any courses attended, you must enter the number of hours' credit allocated and the authorised CPD course providers reference, together with the date and course title, into your CPD training record.

10.3

We may request to see a copy of your CPD training record at any time, and if we do so you must produce your record upon demand.

10.4

You should keep your CPD training record on file for a period of at least six years.

10.5

You should enter the start and finish dates of any period of suspension, and the reasons for suspending, in your CPD training record.

Guidance note:

(i)

Details of other activities and the number of hours undertaken should be entered on your CPD training record. It is advisable to enter all development activities even if you are unsure whether they can be claimed for CPD credit.

Part 6: Pre-qualification training

Regulation 11: CPD undertaken before admission
11.1

You are only entitled to count CPD undertaken between the expiry of your training contract and the day of admission for the purposes of regulation 5, if at the time of undertaking it:

(a)

an application for admission has been lodged with us, and

(b)

a CPD training record has been kept in accordance with regulation 10.

Part 7: Suspension of requirements

Regulation 12: Suspension of CPD requirement
12.1

If you do not work for any period in legal practice or employment in England and Wales, the application of these regulations may be suspended for that period.

12.2

You may suspend your CPD requirements in the following circumstances:

(a)

you are not working in legal practice or employment;

(b)

you are retired from practice as a solicitor or REL;

(c)

you are working, on average, less than two hours a week in legal practice or employment.

12.3

Any training undertaken during the suspension will not count towards your CPD requirement upon your return to legal practice or employment.

12.4

It is not necessary to notify us of the intention to suspend the CPD requirements.

Guidance note to 12.2:

(i)

This would apply where you are in a role in which you are not required to give legal advice to:

(a)

a member of the public;

(b)

a company;

(c)

an internal department;

(d)

an officer or member of staff, or representative of your organisation.

(ii)

This applies regardless of whether the employment is paid or voluntary and whether or not a practising certificate is held.

(iii)

This also covers time when you are out of legal practice or employment, whether or not you hold a current practising certificate, due to unemployment, maternity/paternity leave, long-term illness and/or working abroad.

(iv)

If you are a retired solicitor you are eligible to suspend the CPD requirements, provided you do not practise or undertake legal work of any description, whether paid or unpaid. If you are a retired solicitor acting as a consultant, or who undertakes pro-bono or voluntary work of a legal nature you are not entitled to suspend the CPD requirements.

Guidance note to 12.4:

(i)

It is for you to decide whether or not you want to suspend your CPD requirements. Consideration of the following may be of assistance:

(a)

the length of time you will be out of practice or legal employment;

(b)

the amount of credit already accrued during the CPD year or first three years after admission in which the suspension would begin;

(c)

the availability of courses/access to training while out of practice;

(d)

your financial circumstances and whether you would be required to fund the training yourself.

Part 8: Returning to practice

Regulation 13: CPD requirements upon return to full-time or part-time legal practice or employment following a suspension during the newly admitted or registered period
13.1

Upon your return to full-time or part-time legal practice or employment, your CPD requirements will be dependent upon the length of time you have worked from the date of your admission to the roll or registration with us.

13.2

If you have:

(a)

suspended the requirements in the newly admitted or newly registered period; and

(b)

not worked at all from the date of admission or registration;

you must undertake one hour of CPD for each complete month from the date of your return, up to the end of the CPD year.

13.3

If you:

(a)

suspended the requirements in the newly admitted or newly registered period; but

(b)

worked following the date of your admission or registration;

you must undertake one hour for each month before and after the suspension if returning before the end of the CPD year.

13.4

If you have not completed all of your CPD requirement for the period before the suspension began you should make up any shortfall and undertake the requisite number of hours when you return to work. We may grant an extension of time if necessary.

Guidance note to 13.2:

(i)

If you have not worked at all from the date of your admission to the roll, or of registration with us, you will be treated as newly admitted on your return regardless of the length of the suspension.

(ii)

The newly admitted or registered period covers the first 12 months following the date of your admission or registration.

Guidance note to 13.3:

(i)

If you have completed all of your CPD requirement for the period before the suspension began you may, upon returning to work, choose one of the following options:

(a)

if you return on or before 1 May, undertake two hours for every complete month up to the end of the CPD year, up to a maximum of 16 hours, attending if you feel necessary due to the length of the suspension, the Financial and Business Skills (but you would not be required to attempt or pass the examination) and Client Care and Professional Standards modules of the PSC; or

(b)

if you return after 1 May, undertake at least 12 hours, attending, if you feel necessary due to the length of the suspension, the Financial and Business Skills (but you would not be required to attempt or pass the examination) and Client Care and Professional Standards modules of the PSC.

(ii)

Either option would count as completion of the first CPD year.

Guidance note to 13.4:

(i)

In determining whether you have completed your requirements you may count the following circumstances as a complete CPD year:

(a)

accrual of at least 12 hours of CPD and attendance, where appropriate, at a compulsory course or the Financial and Business Skills (but not the examination) and Client Care and Professional Standards modules of the PSC, whichever was applicable at the time before the suspension began;

(b)

accrual of at least 12 hours of CPD and attendance, where appropriate, at a compulsory course or the Financial and Business Skills (but not the examination) and Client Care and Professional Standards modules of the PSC between the date of your return and the end of the CPD year; or

(c)

accrual of a total of 12 hours during the period before the suspension began added to the amount required from the date of your return to the end of the CPD year, plus, where appropriate attendance at a compulsory course or the Financial and Business Skills (but not the examination) and Client Care and Professional Standards modules of the PSC.

Regulation 14: CPD requirements upon return to full-time legal practice or employment following a suspension at any time from the end of your first CPD year or onwards
14.1

If you have suspended the requirements at any time from the end of your first CPD year or onwards, and return to work full-time you will be required to complete two hours of CPD for every complete month from the date of your return until the end of that CPD year, up to a required maximum of 16 hours.

Guidance note:

(i)

The table below can be used to calculate your CPD requirement for the remainder of the CPD year.

(ii)

If you return to work on for example 5 December, your CPD requirements will start from 1 January, the first full month following your return. If you return to work between 2 October and 31 October, your CPD requirements will start at the commencement of the new CPD year.

Return date   

CPD hours

1 November

16

1 December  

16

1 January  

16

1 February  

16

1 March   

16

1 April   

14

1 May    

12

1 June   

10

1 July    

8

1 August   

6

1 September    

4

1 October   

2

2 October - 31 October

0

Regulation 15: CPD requirements upon return to part-time legal practice or employment following a suspension at any time from the end of your first CPD year or onwards
15.1

If you have suspended the requirements at any time from the end of your first CPD year or onwards, and you return to work part-time, you will be required to complete one hour of CPD per year, for every two hours worked weekly.

15.2

If you return to part-time legal practice or employment after 1 March you should calculate your annual CPD requirement based on the number of hours worked per week, and undertake one-eighth of the annual requirement for each complete month from the date of your return to the end of that CPD year.

Guidance note: For example,

(i)

if you work 20 hours a week you are required to undertake 10 hours of CPD per CPD year.

(ii)

if you return to work on 1 April, and you are working 20 hours a week, you would be required to undertake eight and three quarter hours of CPD up until the end of the CPD year.

Part 9: Applications and waivers

Regulation 16: CPD questions on the practising certificate application form
16.1

You will be required to confirm whether or not you have complied with the CPD requirements during the past full CPD year when applying for your practising certificate.

Guidance note:

(i)

When applying for a practising certificate in 2011 for example, the question relates to your CPD position as at 31 October 2010. If you are making an application for the first time and have not completed a full CPD year, the 'not applicable' box on the form should be ticked. Likewise, if you are subject to the requirement but were out of practice during the year, and have suspended the requirements, you should tick the 'not applicable' box on the form.

Regulation 17: Waivers of CPD monitoring requirements
17.1

There are no exemptions from the CPD scheme but general waivers apply in relation to CPD monitoring as follows:

(a)

firms and organisations with Lexcel/Investors in People accreditation have a waiver from the routine monitoring of in-house CPD courses and the requirements to submit details of courses, course tutors and/or discussion group leaders;

(b)

solicitors /RELs in firms and organisations with Lexcel/Investors in People accreditation have a waiver from routine monitoring of CPD training records, and the requirement to satisfy a minimum of 25 per cent of the CPD requirement by participation in accredited courses;

(c)

solicitors /RELs in firms holding a Legal Aid franchise have a waiver from routine monitoring of CPD training records;

(d)

solicitors /RELs in firms and organisations holding ISO 9000 accreditation have a waiver from routine monitoring of CPD training records;

(e)

solicitors /RELs in firms and organisations which are authorised in-house CPD providers or part of a training contract consortium authorised as in-house CPD providers may have a waiver from the requirement to satisfy 25 per cent of their CPD requirement by participation in accredited courses, if you develop a training plan which is acceptable to the firm or training contract consortium.

17.2

Even where any of the above waivers are applicable to you or your firm, the number of CPD hours to be completed will not be affected, and you are still required to maintain your personal CPD training record to assist you with planning your CPD activity.

17.3

In any particular case we have the power to waive in writing any of the provisions of these regulations and to revoke such waivers.