Continuing Professional Development is going out of fashion with barristers


Alex Aldridge tells us:

Why barristers balk at the ‘box-ticking’ of continuing professional development

Barristers failing to complete their annual quota of CPD now dominate Bar Standards Board disciplinary proceedings

Rumpole of the Bailey

John Mortimer's irascible Rumpole of the Bailey: what would he have made of continuing profesional development? Photograph: THE RONALD GRANT ARCHIVE

“Tucked away deep within the Bar Standards Board website is a barristers‘ rogue gallery… Mostly, though, the board disciplinary record is dominated by cases of barristers failing to complete their annual quota of continuing professional development (CPD) hours.

 

“As the volume of these cases suggests, barristers aren’t keen on the current system. Many regard the requirement that they undertake 12 unpaid hours of formal CPD activities each year (typically lectures and online seminars) as “box-ticking”.

Solicitors must do 16 hours of CPD.  A working group is proposing that barristers double their 12 hours CPD requirement to demonstrate their elite status.

It’s about “assuring the public”.

I wonder how many non-professional members of the public know what CPD stands for? Do they check CPD before they embark on employing a lawyer?  Do they search for the statistical evidence that box-ticking works?

“…Some barristers even question the necessity of a regulator-imposed CPD requirement, suggesting the rigorous daily assessment they receive in court from judges and opposing counsel is sufficient incentive to keep them on their toes. Matthew Nicklin, a barrister at media law set 5RB, argues that “CPD should be measured by what it achieves, not by the number of hours spent doing it.” Instead of the current system, he would like to see an “ends rather than means” approach, where legal services ombudsman complaints data is used to identify poorly performing barristers, who would then be required to undergo more training.”

The Royal College of Pathologists requires participation in 50 hours of CPD.  CPA and UKAS like to double-check professional training records just as they focus on the procedural training records for technical staff.  Compliance with the ISO standards require it.

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