CPD Requirements – Tasmania
Legal practitioners have an obligation to themselves and the community to participate in professional development that maintains and extends their knowledge, expertise and competence in areas in relevant to their practice.
- Mandatory CPD Scheme for legal practitioners in Tasmania
- Mandatory categories / core competency areas
- Determining the correct category
- Pro-rata concessions where practising certificate held for less than a full CPD year
- Exemptions from compliance with Practice Guideline No. 4 and applications for exemption
- Part-time and locum practitioners
- Compliance, reporting and auditing
- CPD opportunities provided by the LST
- About LST’s CPD Program
- CPD Online Tracker
- CPD Record and Form – Manual Form
Mandatory CPD Scheme for Legal Practitioners in Tasmania
In Tasmania, a legal practitioner must, as a pre-requisite to practising certificate renewal complete at least 10 CPD units of CPD activity in each CPD year (Practice Guideline No. 4 of the Law Society of Tasmania).
‘CPD year’ is defined in Practice Guideline 4 – Continuing Professional Development Scheme to run from 1 April – 31 March.
‘CPD points’ and ‘CPD activity’ are also defined in the Practice Guideline. In most instances, 1 hour of CPD activity = 1 CPD point. Certain hours of activity, including Committee membership and publication authoring, are however treated differently.
Mandatory Categories / Core Competency Areas
The points acquired by a practitioners in a CPD year must include at least:
- one CPD point relating to practical legal ethics;
- one CPD point relating to practice management or business skills;
- one CPD point relating to professional skills; and
- one CPD point relating to substantive law.
Determining the Correct Category
CPD activities will often fall into more than one of the above categories. The Society can guide practitioners in point allocation for recording purposes, however this is ultimately considered a matter for the practitioner’s own good judgment and discretion, provided the allocation is reasonable. See also for guidance: Core Competency Area Example Topics. An hour of CPD activity may be broken down into fractions for the purpose of category and point allocation. For example a practitioner on attending a one-hour seminar may decide that the seminar was approximately 50 % professional skills and 50% substantive law. He or she might in this instance elect to record 0.5 points for professional skills and 0.5 points for substantive law.
Pro-rata Concessions to the Minimum 10 Point Requirement
Pro-rata concessions are permitted under the rules (Practice Guideline 4 – Continuing Professional Development Scheme, rule 3.9) for practitioners who have held their practising certificate for less than a full CPD year. This concession can be calculated by practitioners using the table set out in rule 3.9 and practitioners are not required to make a formal application to the Society.
Exemptions Provisions – Practice Guideline No. 4
The LST has the power to grant exemptions on any of the grounds set out under rule 4 of the Practice Guideline 4 – Continuing Professional Development Scheme upon receipt and consideration of a written request from the practitioner seeking the exemption.
These concessions are usually granted on a pro-rata basis, rounded up or down to the nearest .5 of a fraction. Pro-rata concessions on the grounds of part-time work and locum work alone are not permitted.
Example successful applications for an exemption:
- Mrs X will be absent from practice, due to maternity leave, for a period of 7 months. Her minimum CPD point obligations are adjusted on an approximate pro-rata basis down to 4 (Formula: 10 points divided by 12 months in CPD year times 5 months not absent from practice).
- Mr Y will be absent from practice for a period of 2 months on paternity leave. His minimum CPD point obligations are adjusted on a pro-rata basis down to 8.5 (Formula: 10 points divided by 12 months in CPD year times 10 months not absent from practice).
- Ms G is absent from practice for 3 months due to a medically certified illness. Her minimum CPD point obligations are adjusted on a pro-rata basis down to 7.5 (Formula: 10 points /12 months in CPD year x 9 months in practice).
- Mr P is a part-time sole practitioner, lives and works in a remote location and has a young family. He is an active committee member of the Society and is able to attend meetings via online videoconferencing. He has participated in a number of webinar events relevant to his area of practice in all of the four mandatory categories. He finds he has 6 CPD points from webinar events, capped at 5 by the Practice Guideline, and he has attended one seminar in Hobart. His claimable hours of committee membership contribution are also capped at 3. He discovers that only 9 of his hours can be claimed towards the 10 mandatory point requirements of the Scheme. Mr P applies for an exemption by way of increase in the cap from 5 to 6.
Applications for exemptions should be made as soon as practitioners become aware they will require exemption.
Applications for exemptions are required under Practice Guideline 4 – Continuing Professional Development Scheme to be in writing and can be made by letter or email to the Law Society of Tasmania or alternatively by completing and submitting an Exemption Request Form. Any relevant supporting documentation should also be attached to the written application.
Compliance and Reporting
A practitioner must maintain a written record of CPD points accrued by that practitioner in respect of each CPD year. Supporting documentary evidence (e.g. receipt) should be retained for at least 2 years.
Certification of compliance:
Under the CPD Scheme, CPD compliance is self-certified.
Subject to any exemptions or partial exemption granted by the Law Society under Practice Guideline No. 4, a practitioner who makes application for renewal of a practising certificate must certify that he or she has completed 10 CPD points in respect of the CPD year preceding the year to which the application relates.
Practitioners who have failed to comply should supply details of their non-compliance in the additional information box on the renewal form.
Practitioners who have received an exemption or partial exemption and have complied with their obligations (as applicable to them) should tick ‘yes’ in the form’s compliance declaration section but should make a note of their exempt status in the additional information box .
Non-compliance with the CPD Scheme (including rectification) is dealt with in rule 6 of Practice Guideline No 4. Generally you will be asked to submit a rectification plan to the Society within 21 days. Non-compliance is however a professional conduct matter which may in certain circumstances be reported by the Law Society of Tasmania to the Legal Profession Board of Tasmania.
The Law Society audits of 5% of the legal profession each year to verify compliance with the CPD Scheme.
During the audit process the Society may request from practitioners by written notice:
- details of the practitioner’s CPD activities for a specified period (limited to 24 months prior to the date of the written request) including a copy of the practitioners written record of points required to be maintained under rule 3.8 of Practice Guideline No.4;
- supporting evidence (e.g. receipts, enrolment records, certificates, attendance lists, statutory declarations, transcripts or copies of presentation notes).
A reasonableness approach is adopted by the Law Society in conducting its annual audits. If your activity can be easily substantiated by the Law Society no supporting evidence will be required. For example if you are claiming points in association with Law Society committee membership or one of your articles has been published in The Law Letter, you are not required to provide documentary evidence of this.
Non-compliance with audit notice:
If a practitioner does not comply with the notice within thirty days after the giving of the notice, the Society may exercise any of the powers giving to it pursuant to the Legal Profession Act 2007 including a referral to Legal Profession Board of Tasmania.
To help you comply
Practice Guideline 4 – Continuing Professional Development Scheme – familiarise yourself with your compliance obligations
See my LST website CPD online tracker
CPD Record and Form – list your CPD activities and the associated points for the year on this form to record your compliance. Please keep this as your own record and provide a copy to the Society upon request. CPD record example and form template (word document)
Exemption Request Form – complete and return this form if you have been absent from practise or your personal circumstances have made it difficult for you to meet your CPD requirements (see grounds for exemption above). Application for exemption form (word document)