Barristers

Professional Development & CPD Program

The ACT Bar Association values continuing professional development (CPD) to strengthen both our members’ careers and the legal profession as a whole. CPD is essential, first, for your career as a barrister to stay relevant in a changing world and, second, to ensure the ongoing credibility and fairness of the legal system.

Continuing Professional Development Program Protocol

The Primary Requirement

1. Each CPD year, a holder of an Australian Capital Territory Barrister’s Practising Certificate must obtain at least 10 CPD Points, with at least one point in each of the following strands:

(a) Ethics and Regulation of the Profession;
(b) Management;
(c) Substantive Law, Practice and Procedure and Evidence;
(d) Advocacy, Mediation, and other Barristers’ Skills.

2. For this Program, a CPD year commences on 1 April and ends on the following 31 March.

3. One CPD point is earned by a barrister for each hour of a CPD activity engaged in by the barrister.

CPD activities

4. To qualify as a CPD activity an activity must:

(a) be of significant intellectual or practical content; and
(b) be relevant to the practice of law as a barrister; and
(c) fall under one of the types of activities set out in paragraph 5.

5. A CPD activity will fall under one of the following types of activities:

(a) Individual Professional Development Activities:

(i) attendance at a seminar or conference presented by lawyers or predominantly to lawyers or at a seminar or conference pertaining to the practice of law;
(ii) Active engagement in on-line legal programmes (maximum of six of the required ten points may be attributed);
(iii) Watching a video/DVD or listening to an audio tape, podcast that meets the CPD criteria, reading a conference paper of a seminar or conference that would meet the requirements of sub-paragraph (i) above, but only if the barrister had not otherwise attended the presentation; (Note: this accrues 0.5 CPD points per hour)
(iv) attending courses of education offered by a tertiary education institution;
(v) training in information technology or research skills.

(b) Teaching or publishing activities, including but not limited to:

(i) presenting a seminar to lawyers, or predominantly to lawyers, or presenting a seminar pertaining to the practice of law;
(ii) teaching a class offered by a tertiary education institution;
(iii) preparing or researching a seminar or class which would meet the requirements of paragraph (i) or (ii) above, except that no more than 2 hours of preparation may be claimed for each hour of presentation time;
(iv) preparing articles, including book reviews, published in academic or legal journals or magazines;
(v) preparing headnotes for legal reports.

(c) Contribution to the profession, including but not limited to:

(i) drafting submissions concerning legislation, or legislative change or related government policy;
(ii) attending meeting of committees of organisations such as the Law Council of Australia, a bar association, a law society, and a chambers management committee, but restricted to meetings at which matters are discussed involving legal principles or practice, management issues or regulation of the profession;
(iii) drafting written submissions which are presented to a court of equivalent status to the ACT Court of Appeal or higher.

(d) Other activities approved by the Bar Council or the CPD Committee of the Bar Council.

6. A CPD activity need not fit into one of the 3 strands identified in paragraph 1.

7. A barrister may refer a question as to whether an activity is a CPD activity to the Bar Council who may refer the question for final decision to the CPD Committee of the Bar Council. Whether the question is decided by the CPD Committee of the Bar Council or the Bar Council itself, the decision is final.

Self Reporting

8. Barristers are required to keep their own record of CPD activities. Barristers will be required to affirm compliance with this CPD program when applying to renew their practicing certificate.

9. There is no prescribed form for recording CPD activities.

10. The Bar Council may conduct, or require the CPD committee to conduct, an audit of a barrister to confirm that the barrister has accrued the number of points set out in their application to renew their practising certificate.

Exemptions or Reductions in Required CPD points

11. A barrister who, at 31 March in a given CPD year, has held a practicing certificate for a period of time less than from the preceding July has their CPD points requirement reduced as indicated in the following table:

Practice certificate held since
Points required
Points in strands
Preceding August
6 1 in each of 3 strands identified in paragraph 1
Preceding September
5 1 in each of 3 strands identified in paragraph 1
Preceding October
4 1 in each of 3 strands identified in paragraph 1
Preceding November
3 No requirement concerning strands
Preceding December
2 No requirement concerning strands 
January/February
1 No requirement concerning strands 
March
0 No requirement concerning strands 

12. A barrister whose practice has been significantly disrupted due to ill health or other personal circumstances, including parenting reasons, may apply to the Bar Council for exemption from or reduction in CPD requirements.

13. A barrister whose ability to complete the normal CPD requirements has been significantly disrupted due to a change in the CPD program during a CPD year, may apply to the Bar Council for exemption from or reduction in CPD requirements.