Continuing Professional Development

Continuing Professional Development

1.  Our Paralegal CPD Programme

We run the oldest CPD scheme for paralegals in the UK (Scotland excluded). Many professional bodies require their members to comply with a mandatory CPD scheme, and from 1st October 2005 we introduced our Paralegal CPD Programme.

Like most CPD schemes, members will be required to obtain a minimum number of points each CPD year (the CPD year matches each members' own membership year).

2.   Why we have a Paralegal CPD Programme

Often referred to as CPD, continuing professional development is a life-long-learning training system. Its purpose is to encourage professionals to maintain, improve and deepen their knowledge and skills, thereby assisting them to successfully carry out their professional duties and responsibilities throughout their careers.

Some people see CPD as an unnecessary burden.  However, it is a widely accepted element of professional life.

As we are working towards our profession being widely recognised and respected, Paralegal CPD is a necessity.

We are working towards high standards of competence being the norm within our profession. Encouraging you to continually acquire and update your legal knowledge and accompanying skills (e.g. negotiation or interviewing skills) is an essential part of achieving that goal.

3.   Paralegal CPD Requirements

Compliance with Paralegal CPD will be a condition of continued membership for individual practising members (i.e. not affiliate members). 
The requirement is to accumulate 12 CPD points each year.  Each point equates to one hour of study.  The requirement will be reduced on a pro-rata basis for:

Those joining part-way through a CPD year, e.g. if you join us during March then you will have to get 7 CPD points for that year (one for each remaining month);
Those on maternity leave;
The long term ill

Remember, we take CPD very seriously, and failure to meet your requirements can result in your membership being cancelled.

4.   Obtaining Points

Paralegal CPD™ is not intended to create a bureaucratic and invasive system, so the following are only guidelines.  The purpose behind Paralegal CPD is to:

Encourage you to study on an on-going basis to improve your general professional skill and knowledge
Give you grounds to request that your employer (if relevant) provide you with training
Help you start creating a structured training programme that will make a difference to your career development

Therefore there is a large element of trust in the Programme.

If you can show that the study you have done is both legitimate and relevant to your development as a paralegal then it is likely to be approved for CPD purposes.  Please contact us in advance if you are not sure whether an activity counts for CPD purposes or not, and if you are unsure of how many CPD points to ascribe to it.

Because we take your completion of your CPD obligations seriously, we reserve the right to refuse to recognise for CPD purposes any activities that breach the spirit of Paralegal CPD™ - e.g. attending a course significantly below your level of expertise (as you would have learnt little or nothing from it).  If in doubt, please speak to us.

CPD points are awarded for time spent on approved CPD activities.  The minimum block of time is 30 minutes, for which 0.5 CPD points are given.  For example:

Study Time

CPD Points

15 minutes


30 minutes


1 hour


1hour 20 minutes


1 hour 30 minutes


CPD points can be obtained by:



Attending any course which we have accredited for Paralegal CPD™ purposes, or supplied by any provider or employer accredited for CPD purposes by the Law Society of England & Wales or Scotland, or by the Bar Council or the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators (or equivalent for international members or members overseas)

You can claim the time spent at the course itself (excluding coffee and other breaks)


Presenting at any of the above courses


You can claim the actual time spent presenting plus half again, or the time spent at the course, whichever is the longer


Undertaking in-house training


The activity should be verified by being recorded as training and/or development in accordance with your organisation's normal procedures e.g. being entered on your in-house training record


Documented legal writing or research


You can claim the actual time spent up to a maximum of 4 points per item


Studying a legal course


You can claim the actual time spent up to the annual maximum (time cannot be carried forward into subsequent years)


Undertaking any other activities that clearly assist with your development as a legal professional


The activity should be recorded or signed off by a supervisor or other suitable verifier.

5.   Accredited Courses

We strongly recommend that you take accredited courses.  Although by no means fool-proof, these courses are the ones most likely to be of a consistent standard and deliver what they promise.

6.   The CPD Year

The CPD year runs from 1 November to 31 October. Points cannot be carried over.

7.   Definitions

Attending: means attending the complete course. Partial attendance does not count at all

Course: usually this means traditional face-to-face teaching sessions, but also includes:

Distance learning courses which involve formal assessment
Online courses which involve formal assessment
Watching online courses/DVD's etc. produced by accredited providers 
Presenting: includes preparing, delivering and/or attending complete courses (they do not have to be accredited) which last 30 minutes or longer.

Research: covers research which relates to legal topics and which has relevance to your clients/employer. The research must have led to some form of written document, precedent, memorandum, questionnaire/survey, etc which you can show us upon request.

Writing: covers legal writing only which is published in:

A law book

A law journal

Publications for employer/clients

Employer/clients' own publications

Any newspaper or magazine

An internet publication

8.   Recording Your Time

It is your responsibility to record and check details of the CPD activities you do, and the number of points gained.

Please note that we may ask to see your CPD activities record at any time.

We send members a free CPD activities log - its use is not mandatory, but if not used then members must have an alternative that gives the same information in an easily accessible manner.


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