But all of the pomp and circumstance is now past and William and Kate are on their way to a long and happy life together. What's the next news that will capture the attention of the UK and the world? Major changes in the CPD rules for barristers, of course!
A review of CPD for the Bar was conducted from January 2010 to April 2011 under the chairmanship of Derek Wood CBE QC. Recommendations were made to the Bar Standards Board at its meeting on May 19, 2011 concerning ways in which the current system could and should be revised.
The Board has now released the Report of the Working Group - Review of CPD, as well as a draft handbook (subject to amendment and to be put to the Board for adoption after this period) which brings together previous existing material, regulations, and guidelines, revised and updated in accordance with the Working Group that were accepted by the BSB. They have also compiled a two page summary document - CPD at a Glance, which highlights the new requirements, effective January 1, 2013.
So what are these changes?
1. The number of hours required to be completed by barristers has increased significantly.
Under the current system, established barristers (beyond their first three years of practice) were required to complete 12 credits per year. Of the 12, at least 4 were required to be accredited and approved by the BSB. Under the new system, effective January 1, 2013, established practitioners must complete 24 credits each calendar year, a minimum of 12 of which must be verifiable (see below).
New practitioners (those within their first three years of practice) were required to complete 45 hours within their first three years of practice, including nine hours of advocacy training and three hours of ethics training. Under the new scheme, new barristers must complete 24 hours of CPD each year, of which 12 hours must be verifiable. They must also still complete the nine hours of advocacy and three hours of ethics training within the first three years.
2. The new system doesn't distinguish between formally accredited and non-accredited hours.
Instead, there will now be a distinction between verifiable and non-verifiable CPD. At least 12 of the 24 credits for all barristers (both new and established) must be in the form of verifiable CPD.
Verifiable CPD hours can be earned through participation in courses such as attending a course, lecture, seminar, conference, or similar event; participating in an online course; through training as a judge, recorder, tribunal member, arbitrator, or mediator; teaching at a lecture or training session (university level or above); writing for publication of a book or article; or through the development of personal or practical skills by attending a course on practice management skills.
Non-verifiable hours are those not capable of being independently documented - for example the reading of law reports. This private study can be claimed for non-verifiable hours if it undertaken otherwise than for the purpose of providing legal services to a particular client.
Activities not allowed to be claimed for CPD include unofficial networking activities such as running a personal website, blog, legal commentary, or online diary; participating in career development events; giving career talks; or participating in marketing events or events directed at enhancing or developing sources of work.
3. The BSB no longer accredits courses for the purposes of CPD.
Under the new system, it is up to the individual barrister to determine their own needs and the relevance of the courses, lectures, seminars, and other events and activities that they undertake. No formal accreditation is required of commercial or non-commercial providers of courses for the CPD for the Bar.
This also means that providers will no longer be able to use the BSB logo, state or otherwise imply that their courses are accredited and quality assured by the BSB to a certain standard, including fitness for prupose and/or value for money.
The complete report of the Working Group is 112 pages and will take some additional time to review. I'm sure additional posts will be forthcoming once I've had a chance to more completely digest the information.