The purpose of CPD
Continuing professional development (CPD) obligations are intended to ensure that lawyers are continually updating and improving their skills and knowledge in order to maintain the quality of the service expected by, and delivered to, their clients and the community.
High quality legal service is of central importance when it comes to maintaining the public’s trust and confidence in the legal profession, which in turn supports the maintenance of the rule of law.
Your focus should be on good learning and development outcomes, rather than on compliance as an aim in itself. Taking the time to reflect on your development needs and plan for the year can help you choose CPD activities that go beyond meeting your obligations and are more relevant to your current practice or career aspirations.
We encourage you to explore the many and varied educational opportunities offered by your professional associations, government authorities and departments, courts, law firms, legal education providers, universities and others. Try different ways of learning and connecting with your peers such as joining a discussion group, write a legal article or participate in a legal committee or law reform taskforce.
How it works
If you hold a current practising certificate, you need to complete 10 points of CPD activities each year with at least one point in each of the following four fields:
- ethics and professional responsibility
- practice management and business skills
- professional skills
- substantive law.
Find out more about your CPD obligations.
The CPD year runs from 1 April through to 31 March of the following year.
What you need to do
When you renew your practising certificate each year you must declare to us that you have met your CPD obligations.
We expect that you will undertake meaningful professional development and keep records that can be easily produced to demonstrate your attendance or participation.
It is your responsibility to ensure the CPD you choose meets your obligations under the CPD Rules. Although we are responsible for ensuring compliance with the rules, we do not accredit CPD providers or determine whether CPD courses are suitable for your particular professional needs.
If at any stage during the CPD year you think you may not be able to meet your obligations (for example you may anticipate taking parental leave), act early as you may qualify for an exemption.
Each year the Victorian Bar and the Law Institute of Victoria carry out audits of lawyers’ CPD compliance on our behalf. Find out more about exemptions, audits and making up for missed CPD.
Our review into CPD in Victoria was released on 25 November 2020. The report, ‘Getting the Point? Review of Continuing Professional Development for Victorian Lawyers’ makes 28 recommendations to improve CPD to enable the legal profession to have meaningful, relevant and accessible learning opportunities that enrich the quality of legal services provided to the Victorian community.
Read more about the review and report, including the guidance released in May 2021 for CPD providers.