Mandatory CPD submissions considered

The Law Society’s governing Board has considered the written submissions made on the proposed Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme.

The Board expects to submit a final proposal to the Law Society’s Council at its 12 October meeting, with a view to implementation in the 2013/14 legal practice year.

The proposed mandatory CPD scheme was presented to lawyers for consideration and comment in February 2012. Over 30 written submissions were received from individual lawyers and also the Large Firm Group, Family Law Section, Property Law Section, CLANZ and the New Zealand Bar Association. In addition, other organisations such as the Ministry of Justice and the Consumers Institute were asked for comment on the proposal.

Law Society Executive Director Christine Grice says the proposed scheme is designed to be outcomes-based, in line with current educational thinking. Individual lawyers would be responsible for identifying and fulfilling their own learning requirements through a structured process of self-assessment and reflection.

“This is an advance on the traditional approach of prescribing what lawyers must study. A number of the submissions considered by the Board confirmed the need to provide in-depth education and guidance as part of the process of implementing CPD in New Zealand,” she says.

“The majority of submissions supported the proposed scheme. It brings an innovative and proactive approach and allows individual continuing education needs to be directly addressed. Because this is a departure from older, more traditional schemes, it is clear that a lot of information will need to be provided to lawyers on how it will work and what they will need to do.”

Ms Grice says she is confident that the lead times between approval of the scheme and its implementation will allow that to occur.