After practising for more than three full years, barristers must undertake CPD in accordance with the Established Practitioner Program (EPP).
To make sure that barristers continue to meet the requirements of the Professional Statement and continue to develop relevant knowledge and skills, barristers are required to undertake Continuing Professional Development in accordance with the BSB’s CPD Scheme.
The CPD rules are contained in Part 4 of the BSB Handbook. rQ130.2 defines CPD. as work undertaken over and above your normal commitments as a barrister. CPD is undertaken with a view to developing your skills, knowledge and professional standards in areas relevant to your present or proposed area of practice. This is in order to keep yourself up to date and maintain the highest standards of professional practice.
Barristers are no longer required to undertake a minimum number of CPD hours annually, nor is there a requirement to undertake ‘accredited’ CPD courses. The BSB checks that barristers are complying with CPD requirements by spot checking a sample of practitioners’ CPD records.
The BSB sets out the requirements under the EPP scheme as follows:
You can find full EPP guidance here from the BSB.
Relevant CPD activities can include:
The following activities will not be considered by the BSB to count towards CPD:
The Inns and Circuits provide a number of advanced training programmes to barristers which are of considerable professional value and can form part of your CPD. These include the ICCA’s Advocacy and the Vulnerable courses designed to ensure that all advocates, when dealing with children or vulnerable witnesses, understand the key principles behind the approach to, and questioning of, vulnerable people in the justice system.
The ICCA provides additional high quality advocacy training resources which can be used as part of your CPD activities.
If I am a criminal practitioner undertaking serious work in the Crown Court, what kind of CPD should I undertake?
In order to demonstrate that you have reflected on your practice and identified areas where you feel that development is necessary, you will need to look at the Professional Statement as a starting point.
The Professional Statement sets out at 1.15 that a competent barrister will have persuasive oral advocacy skills, together with those standards expected.
As can be seen from 1.15(i), a competent barrister must recognise the role of different types of witness and use appropriate questioning techniques for witness handling, having particular regard to vulnerable witnesses.
Your CPD Plan could, for example, set out a Learning Objective such as: Identify and understand the latest principles of best practice when cross-examining children and vulnerable witnesses.
Your Learning Objective Rationale might be: In order to remain competent when questioning children and vulnerable witnesses and to be sufficiently competent to accept work in such cases.
The type and nature of CPD activities might include:
Your Record of Activity should then set out precisely what you did to perform the stated activities and you should reflect on whether you felt that the activity you undertook met the learning objective you set for yourself. It should be relatively easy to evidence your pursuit of the activity and you should make a note of the hours spent. For example:
Developing a reflective practice is something that the ICCA encourages and supports. We strive to produce materials and guidance on topical areas and to support the practising Bar to maintain their knowledge and skills in an effort to make the profession the best that it can be. We strive for academic and professional excellence for the Bar.
Click here to download a completed example copy of a CPD Plan.
Click here to download a blank copy for you to complete.