Mandatory Continuing Professional Development

On-line Certificate of Compliance
Lodge MCPD Compliance for MCPD year ending 31 March 2018

 

1. Definitions

Act the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 (SA) 
Board the Board of Examiners 
Court the Supreme Court of South Australia 
CPD year 1 April to the following 31 March 
Legal practitioner a person who:
    (a) has been admitted to legal practice; and
    (b) holds or held at the material time a Practising Certificate issued pursuant to the Act. 
LPEAC Rules Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council Rules 
The Society the Law Society of South Australia 
Scheme the MCPD Scheme

2.MCPD Calendar – Important Filing Dates

Date Event
1 April Start of CPD year
14 April Certificate of compliance must be provided to the Society
14 April Statutory declaration of non-compliance and rectification plan must be lodged with the Society
14 April Statutory declaration of non-compliance because of Defined Circumstances must be lodged with the Society
31 May Rectification must be completed
7 June Statutory declaration of completion of activities undertaken under the rectification plan must be lodged with the Society
1 July Start of new practising certificate year
31 March End of CPD year
          

3. The MCPD Scheme

All individual legal practitioners MUST complete 10 units of CPD activity (which includes the 3 required units) over the course of the CPD year (1 April – 31 March) as a condition of every Practising Certificate issued to an individual in South Australia.

Failure to comply with the MCPD condition of your Practising Certificate is a serious matter, for the following reasons:
  • It is a breach of a condition of your practising certificate;
  • It will jeopardise the issue or renewal of your Practising Certificate;
  • Continued failure to comply with the MCPD requirements may be capable of constituting unsatisfactory conduct or unprofessional conduct (depending on the nature and circumstances of the breaches) under the Act.

4. Definition of a CPD activity

A CPD activity is an activity dedicated to professional development and is not merely engaging in legal practice. Generally, it is a matter for each legal practitioner to choose the subject matter of each activity undertaken, as long as it qualifies as a CPD activity.
 
A CPD activity is one which:
  • has significant intellectual or practical content primarily related to the practice of law;
  • is conducted by persons qualified by practical or academic experience in the subject; and
  • is relevant to the immediate or long-term professional development needs of the legal practitioner undertaking it.

What qualifies as a CPD unit?
  • 1 unit of CPD  = 1 hour of CPD activity for:
          -  Attendance at or presenting material for, a seminar, workshop, lecture, conference, educational program or
             course or discussion group: or
          -  Viewing or listening to material for, a multi-media, web-based or recorded program; or
          -  Preparing material for any seminar, workshop, lecture, conference, educational program, course, discussion
             group or a multi-media, web-based or recorded program;
  • 1 unit of CPD = 1000 words of CPD activity for:
          -  Publishing, or substantively editing or refereeing an article in a legal or non-legal publication; or
  • 1 unit of CPD = 2 hours CPD activity for:
          -  Regular attendance at meetings, and participation as a member, of a committee or other body undertaking
             work of substantial significance to the practice of the law and which is reasonable likely to assist the
             attender's professional development.

5. What are the required units?

Of the 10 CPD units each individual legal practitioner must complete, at least 1 (one) unit of each of the following required CPD activities must be completed each CPD year:
  • practical legal ethics;
  • practice management or business skills;
  • professional skills.

Limits on certain forms of CPD activity
  • Viewing or listening to material for, a multi-media, web-based or recorded program - maximum 5 CPD units per CPD year;
  • Preparing material for any seminar, workshop, lecture, conference, educational program, course, discussion group or a multi-media, web-based or recorded program - maximum of 4 CPD units per CPD year;
  • Publishing, or substantively editing or refereeing an article in a legal or non-legal publication - maximum of 5 CPD Units per CPD year;
  • Regular attendance at meetings, and participation as a member, of a committee or other body undertaking work of substantial significance to the practice of the law and which is reasonable likely to assist the attender's professional development - maximum of 5 CPD units per CPD year.

Can excess CPD units be carried forward to the following CPD year?
CPD units completed in January, February or March of a CPD year and that are in excess of what the practitioner requires for that CPD year may, at the election of the practitioner, be assigned in whole or in part to the next CPD year.  NOTE: It is the responsibility of the practitioner to keep record of which units they carry forward.

6. Different types of CPD Activity

A CPD activity involves participation in, or preparation of material for others in one of the following forms (provided in each case it complies with the characteristics outlined at 4 above):                                      
  • Attendance at or presenting material for, a seminar, workshop, lecture, conference, educational program or course or discussion group; or
  • Viewing or listening to material for, a multi-media, web-based or recorded program; or
  • Preparing material for any seminar, workshop, lecture, conference, educational program, course, discussion group or a multi-media, web-based or recorded program; or
  • Publishing, or substantively editing or refereeing an article in a legal or non-legal publication; or
  • Regular attendance at meetings, and participation as a member, of a committee or other body undertaking work of substantial significance to the practice of the law and which is reasonable likely to assist the attender's professional development.  

EXAMPLES of suggested topics that could, subject to satisfying the characteristics of a CPD Activity, be considered as required units.
(These are suggestions only and not intended to be an exhaustive list of topics.)
 

PRACTICAL LEGAL ETHICS
 
How to identify an ethical issue
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Communicating direct with third parties
  • Written and unwritten rules of professional conduct and courtesy
The obligations of the “model litigant”
Lawyer’s duty of competence
Undertakings
Lawyer’s duties to the court
  • Duty not to abuse the court process or the administration of justice
  • Prosecutor’s duties and ethical obligations
  • Ethical duties in advocacy
Lawyer’s duty of confidentiality
  • Difference between the duty of confidentiality and legal professional privilege
  • When can/should a lawyer breach the duty of confidentiality?
  • When can/should a lawyer report their client to the police?
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT AND BUSINESS SKILLS

Business structures
  • How to finance a practice
  • Growth and development of a business
  • Business planning
  • Cash-flow management
  • Succession planning for the practice
  • Taxation planning
  • Superannuation for practitioners
  • Income protection for practitioners
  • Staff management and Human Resources
  • Occupational Health and Safety law
  • Employment-related equal opportunity and discrimination law
Risk management
  • How to ensure deadlines are met
  • File management
Cost rules
  • Billing
  • Negotiating fees
  • Costs review
Effective use of technology
  • Using an electronic practice management system
  • The electronic library
  • Operating a litigation support system
Aspects of trust account rules
PROFESSIONAL SKILLS

Legal research
Strategic planning
When is “Without Prejudice” effective?
Effective communication skills
  • How can I be sure my client understands me?
  • Giving oral advice – how to break bad news
  • Giving advice – identifying options.
  • Use of precedents
  • Plain English drafting and letter-writing
  • Drafting Terms of Settlement
  • Taking a witness statement
Client management
  • Client relationship – principles and techniques
  • Issues in cross-cultural communication
  • Interviewing and the use of interpreters
  • Governance and accountability
ADR
  • Conducting a mediation
  • Negotiation – principles and techniques
  • Simple advocacy for solicitors
Appearing before Tribunals
Presenting a plea in the Magistrates Court

 

7. Reduced Obligations where a Practising Certificate is Held for Only Part of the CPD Year

Where an individual legal practitioner holds a practising certificate for less than a full CPD year the minimum CPD units in respect of that year are reduced proportionally in accordance with the following rules:
  1. The total number of CPD units (10) shall be reduced by 1 unit for each whole calendar month of the CPD year for which the practitioner did not hold a practising certificate;
  2. The number of "required" CPD units shall be reduced by 1 unit for each 3 ordinary CPD units reduced in (1) above;
  3. The prescribed upper limits of 5 CPD units for viewing/listening to material for a multi-media, web-based or recorded program and 4 CPD units for preparing material for any seminar, workshop, lecture, conference, educational program, course, discussion group or a multi-media, web-based or recorded program will be reduced by 50% (rounded up to the nearest whole number) of the number calculated in (1) above;
  4. The prescribed upper limit of 5 CPD units for publishing, or substantively editing or refereeing an article in a legal or non-legal publication will be reduced by 1 unit for each 3 ordinary CPD units reduced in (1) above;
  5. The prescribed upper limit be reduced by 1 unit for each 3 ordinary units reduced in (1) above.

         To assist with understanding of the pro-rating system, the below table has been prepared:

Number of whole
calendar months
for which PC was
not held during
the CPD year           

Minimum
units to be
completed (inclusive
of "required" units        

Pro-rata reduced
"required" units to
be included                

Max:
Viewing/Listening
of/to recorded
material - publishing
article etc                     

Max:
Committee
Attendance     

 

 

 

 

 

10 months or
more

0

0



9 months

1

0

1

1

8 months

2

1

1

1

7 months

3

1

2

2

6 months

4

1

2

2

5 months

5

2

3

3

4 months

6

2

3

3

3 months

7

2

4

4

2 months

8

3

4

4

1 month

9

3

5

5


Where a practitioner holds a practising certificate for 2 months or less the practitioner will be deemed to have complied with the MCPD requirements for that CPD year and will not be required to submit a certificate of compliance for that year.

If you have any questions about this topic please contact Ethics and Practice on 82290229 or send an email to ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au

8. Inability to Comply - applying for exemption or reduction of CPD Obligations based on defined circumstances

Defined Circumstances:
  • Illness or disability;
  • The location of the practitioner’s legal practice in Australia;
  • The temporary absence of the practitioner from ongoing legal practice (for example, by reason of a period of leave such as maternity leave); or
  • Financial hardship; or
  • Any other special circumstances.
Where during the CPD year defined circumstances exist or occur which prevents or impairs the practitioner's completion of the prescribed amount (10 units) of MCPD, the practitioner must lodge with the Society a statutory declaration as soon as practicable after it becomes apparent that the defined circumstances is likely to prevent the practitioner from completing the prescribed amount of MCPD.

It is not a defined circumstance for a practitioner to be temporarily absent from legal practice by reason of being engaged in employment unrelated to legal practice.

A pro-forma document can be accessed by clicking here. Please note that you are required to attach evidence of your defined circumstance setting out the reason for and the period of the absence.  If you have any questions about this topic please contact Ethics and Practice on 82290229 or send an email to ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au

9. Non-Compliance with MCPD Obligations by 31 March

Where a practitioner has not complied with his or her MCPD obligations by 31 March he/she must:
  • by 14 April lodge with the Society a statutory declaration setting out the extent of the non-compliance and the plan for rectification; a pro-forma document can be accessed by clicking here
  • by 31 May complete the rectification;
  • by 7 June lodge with the Society a statutory declaration setting out and confirming compliance with the rectification plan; a pro-forma document can be accessed by clicking here.

The Law Society may charge a practitioner who does not comply with a time limit, a reasonable fee for receipt and processing documents lodged after the expiry of the time limit.

If you have any questions about this topic please contact Ethics and Practice on 82290229 or send an email to ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au


10. Renewal of Practising Certificate

Before a practising certificate will be renewed the practitioner must satisfy the Society that she/he has complied with their MCPD obligations for the preceding year as prescribed by Appendix C of the LPEAC Rules. 

Where a practitioner fails to satisfy the Society of his/her compliance and the Society determines not to renew their practising certificate, the practitioner may within 7 days of notification of the determination make an application to the Board of Examiners.
If you have any questions about this topic please contact Ethics and Practice on 82290229 or send an email to ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au

12. MCPD Audit

An individual practitioner must, in respect of each CPD year, maintain and retain for 3 years after the end of that CPD year:
  • a written record of their CPD activities undertaken and of CPD units completed and of any activities undertaken pursuant to a condition imposed by the Board of Examiners pursuant to sub-rule 3.A4(a);
  • material indicating the nature of each CPD activity undertaken and of any activity undertaken pursuant to a condition imposed by the Board of Examiners pursuant to sub-rule 3.A4(a);
  • a record of the fact that the practitioner undertook each such activity.

The Society may request documents and evidence of participation in CPD activities undertaken during or in respect of a specific CPD year at any time within 3 years of completion of that CPD year.

Where the Society requests a practitioner to provide them with the practitioner's MCPD records and evidence of compliance, the practitioner must provide the information within 14 days of receipt of the written request.

If you have any questions about this topic please contact Ethics and Practice on 82290229 or send an email to ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au

12. Reviews & Appeals

If you have any questions about this topic please contact Ethics and Practice on 82290229 or send an email to ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au

13. Regulations & Regulators

The Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council make the LPEAC Rules and have overall responsibility for the Scheme. Those Rules are made by LPEAC pursuant to sections 14C and 17A of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981.

Rule 3A together with Appendix C to the LPEAC Rules 2004 contains the regulations which govern the mandatory CPD Scheme.

Role of the Society
The Scheme is regulated by the Law Society of South Australia which receives the requisite documentation from individual legal practitioners, determines in the first instance compliance with the Scheme, issues Practising Certificates and conducts audits as to compliance.

The Committee oversees the implementation and operation of the Scheme generally. It can review and receive referrals of decisions of the Society and offer guidance in respect of the operation of the Scheme.

The Board makes determinations whether a Practising Certificate should be suspended or cancelled and as to whether any special conditions should be imposed by reason of non-compliance; and reviews decisions of the Society and the Committee.

14. Further Information 

For any further information or assistance, contact Werner Van Wyk, Legal Officer on (08) 8229 0217.