As you may be aware, the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements for barristers regulated by the BSB have changed as of 1 January 2017. The Bar Standards Board has now published guidance on the new rules, which are intended to be less prescriptive, more flexible and more suited to barristers’ actual training needs. Full details of new CPD system can be found here.

In summary, the changes shall mean:

  • There is no longer a requirement for barristers to complete accredited hours;
  • Barristers will no longer have to complete a minimum number of hours;
  • Barristers now have individual responsibility for the training they require;
  • Barristers will have increased flexibility in the types of CPD activities that they can complete;
  • The BSB will assess whether barristers have planned and completed their CPD in a structured way;
  • Assessments of CPD compliance will be made by taking into account barristers’ CPD activity in previous years; and
  • The role of the BSB’s supervision team in setting corrective action for non-compliance has been formalised. This means that the focus on the regulation of CPD will not be on disciplinary action but on ensuring that barristers comply with the CPD requirements.

Practically, barristers are required, at the beginning of the year to prepare a plan of the CPD that they intended to undertake by reference to identified “learning objectives”. If you have not yet done so, it would be advisable to prepare your plan now. ALBA have prepared this template (which is adapted from the guideline template prepared by the BSB) to assist with the preparation of individual CPD plans. Thereafter, barristers are required to complete CPD activities so as to achieve these objectives, followed by a process of “reflection”. The template is designed to assist practitioners approach the task of “reflection” in a structured way.

It is ALBA’s intention to continue to offer a series of seminars and lectures throughout the year, as well as our annual conference, to assist members with achieving their learning objectives, and therefore fulfilling their CPD obligations. While there is no longer a requirement for individual events to be accredited with the BSB, ALBA will continue with its practice of recording attendance at our events in case you are spot-checked by the BSB for compliance purposes. As previously, you should keep a record of the events which you have attended, and the template prepared by the BSB provides an example of how this could conveniently be done.