The Law Society has published guidance for solicitors to help them adapt to the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) new learning and development regime, known as ‘Continuing Competence’.
The guidance has been issued in the form of frequently asked questions and has been prepared to help solicitors comply with the SRA’s new requirements.
Continuing Competence was introduced by the SRA in April 2015 to replace the existing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme.
Under the new system there is no requirement for solicitors to attend courses, or to complete a set number of CPD hours. Anything that is done to address learning needs can now count towards a solicitor’s continuing competence.
Solicitors in England and Wales can choose to move to the new scheme at any time, but all practitioners must have made the transition before 1 November 2016.
Law Society President Jonathan Smithers said:
“The Law Society is here to support our members to deal with change. Our members want quick access to the facts and this collection of valuable information will the help solicitors adopt and comply with this change in the regulatory regime. We offer a wide range of learning and development events, webinars and practice notes to help members meet the new requirements and serve clients well.”
To demonstrate continuing competence the system requires solicitors to reflect on their area of practice and identify any learning needs. They will undertake development activities of relevance and importance to their area of specialism.
Meeting the Continuing Competence requirements is integral to the SRA’s conditions to practice. Anyone with a Practising Certificate will need to comply with the continuing competence rules, even solicitors who are retired or work abroad.