CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (CPD)
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the systematic maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge and skill and the development of personal qualities necessary for the performance of professional duties throughout the barrister’s working life.
The Continuing Professional Development Programme was initiated as a means of ensuring the establishment and promotion of high standards of work within the profession and to enable barristers to develop their careers by acquiring new professional skills and areas of practice.
The scheme supports the objective of the Irish Bar to ‘provide its clients with a high level of expertise in all areas of law combined with skilled advocacy’.
An overview of the scheme is outlined below. Members are responsible for their own planned development.
The rules of the CPD scheme may be subject to revision by The Bar of Ireland periodically.
CPD SCHEME RULES
The Bar of Ireland CPD scheme commenced on 1st October 2005 and it applies to all practicing barristers. A CPD practice year is a period of 12 months ending on 30th September each year.
CPD REQUIREMENTS – TEN POINTS PER YEAR
Individual training needs vary and the CPD scheme has been designed to reflect this by offering flexibility in the training activities which qualify for CPD points. Barristers are required to attain ten points during each practice year, with one of these points for undertaking a CPD seminar on Ethics. This seminar will be provided by The Bar of Ireland CPD Unit.
Where a barrister undertakes CPD activities in the months of August or September of any year and thereby exceeds the total CPD points for that year, any excess points up to a maximum of five may be applied to the following year's CPD activities.
To meet the points requirement barristers are free to choose activities relevant to their individual professional needs. Points are generally accrued on the basis of one point per hour of activity.
Every barrister shall endeavour to keep a record of the CPD undertaken and to comply with the scheme.
CRITERIA FOR CPD ACTIVITY
The activity must be:
Of significant intellectual or practical content and must deal primarily with matters related to the practice of law;
Conducted by persons or bodies that have suitable qualifications;
Relevant to a practitioner’s immediate or long term needs in relation to the practitioner’s professional development.
CPD activities include but are not restricted to the following:
Attendance at conferences, courses or seminars;
Research and writing.
Other examples include:
Legal research and article writing for a publication;
Post graduate legal studies;
Active engagement in on-line legal programmes;
Reviewing legal textbooks;
Undergoing training in a one-to-one situation in online research, etc.; e.g. training in use of legal databases
Preparing, editing, revising etc., papers, reading guides, materials, mock trials, mooting problems, model answers etc., for legal exams or CPD programme;
Preparing curricula, reading guides, teaching materials etc., for CPD activities.
Course will be understood to mean an education programme, seminar, workshop, lecture, conference, in-house group discussion, distance learning, face-to-face training session held as part of a distance learning course, summer school, revision sessions, computer-based learning and course presented by means of videotape, audiotape, simultaneous broadcast or such other system or device.
Other activities may include law courses, preparation and presentation of approved training courses, teaching of approved courses, writing articles, books, private or group study and work as an external examiner of legal courses.
If a member has a query regarding the appropriateness of an activity they should contact the CPD Manager.
The number of points that may be attained through various activities is noted in the CPD points summary herein.
PROGRAMMES THAT CAN PROVIDE CPD POINTS
CPD points may be accrued from seminars and programmes provided by, for example:
The Council of the Bar of Ireland;
The King’s Inns;
Groups of barristers organising their own events;
Advocates organisations in other jurisdictions;
Third level institutions;
Other professional bodies (e.g. Institute of Taxation);
State or semi state bodies (e.g. DPP / AG / CPS).
All appropriate CPD events conducted by or on behalf of the above organisations are automatically regarded by The Bar of Ireland as relevant CPD activities. Members may satisfy CPD requirements in a similar fashion with other organisations subject to ex ante or ex post individual approval by the CPD Manager / Internal Relations Committee.
The Regulation Department shall deal with any issues that arise surrounding compliance with the scheme by individual members.
HOW IS CPD ADMINISTERED & MONITORED
Members are required to maintain a record of their compliance with the scheme requirements. They will be required to certify their compliance on an annual basis.
The Bar of Ireland shall monitor compliance with the obligatory CPD requirements and may audit the CPD records of any member of the Bar at any time. For external events in particular, members of the Bar have a duty to maintain copies of vouching CPD documentation such as certificate of attendance, invoice or a conference handout. The documentation should be retained for 1 year from the end of the 12 month period to which they relate. A member of the Bar may be asked to produce evidence that he or she has complied with the obligatory CPD requirements.
Having attained 10 points members are required to certify that they have met the requirements. The relevant form on which to certify compliance will be distributed to members at the beginning of each Court year and can be downloaded from the CPD section of the Members Section.
COURSE OF STUDY FOR BARRISTERS IN THEIR FIRST YEAR OF PRACTICE
The Bar of Ireland has devised a programme of lectures specifically for first year barristers. There will be between 4 and 6 during a barristers devilling year. There is no requirement for first year barristers to attain 10 CPD points during their devilling year – however attendance at these ‘New Practitioner’ lectures is compulsory.
Examples of topics covered in this programme:
Practice & Procedure in Certain Courts
Financial & Practice Management
The week before entering practice, this programme begins with an induction at which junior barristers become acquainted with the Law Library, The Bar of Ireland and matters of professional conduct.
FOR FAQs and further details – please log in to the Members Section.