What is CPD?
Costs Lawyers must ensure that their expertise remains relevant and current throughout their professional careers. One way of achieving this is to carry out continuing professional development, or CPD. The term CPD refers to the learning activities that a practitioner engages in following entry into the profession.
For Costs Lawyers, CPD might involve learning activities aimed at:
- refreshing or updating existing knowledge about costs law and practice
- developing practical skills, such as advanced advocacy techniques
- acquiring new abilities to facilitate a changed role or promotion, such as people management
- understanding changes to legal or regulatory requirements that impact the profession, such as data protection laws
CPD requirements – up to 31 December 2020
Costs Lawyers must complete 12 hours of CPD, equating to 12 CPD points, each practising year. Currently, those CPD hours must be derived from certain categories of activities, as outlined in the CPD Rules and guidance. There is a cap on the number of points available for each category.
CPD requirements – from 1 January 2021
New CPD Rules and guidance will come into force on 1 January 2021, for the 2021 practising year and beyond. The new rules will increase flexibility and choice for practitioners, by removing the activity categories and points caps, ensuring that you are able to choose and undertake the right training for your development needs. You will also need to reflect on the objectives and outcomes of your CPD. We will be in touch with all Costs Lawyers at the start of 2021 with more detailed information.
The new CPD Rules and supporting materials can be found below.
It is important to carry out sufficient CPD activities each year to achieve 12 points. We can only issue a practising certificate to a Costs Lawyer who has less than 12 points in exceptional circumstances (for example, long term ill-health).
In 2020 dispensations will be available on a case by case basis for Costs Lawyers who can evidence that they have been personally affected by coronavirus. For more details see our CPD dispensation guidelines.
You will need to submit evidence of any exceptional circumstances with your application for a practising certificate. The online application form will prompt you for details if you enter less than 12 CPD points, and you can also upload other documents.
If you had a period of ill-health, you will need to provide a medical note or letter from a doctor or other healthcare practitioner.
If you were absent from work for an extended period, you will need to provide a letter from your employer or organisation confirming the period of absence.
Where you have been on extended leave for part of the year, you will still need to attain one CPD point for each month (or part month) during which you were practising.
If you have had correspondence with us during the year about your exceptional circumstances, please make sure you also include details in your application form.
There is still time to undertake CPD during November and December. We would encourage you to consider any in-house training available as well as relevant webinars, which can often be completed from your desk or at home.
If you intend to complete CPD in late November or December, after submitting your practising certificate application, you should note this on your CPD record as usual. Please ensure the CPD activity is booked before it is entered on your CPD record (for example, by reserving a place at a conference, accepting an invitation to a seminar or registering for a webinar).
If the CPD activity is not in fact undertaken for any reason, you will need to choose another CPD activity and let us know about the change to your CPD record. Please remember that CPD records are subject to audit.
We recognise that some Costs Lawyers might be furloughed or otherwise not able to work for certain periods in 2020 due to COVID-19. The requirement to attain 12 CPD points for the year will be reduced by one CPD point for each full month that you’re not able to work. For example, if you were furloughed for two full months, you would only need to attain 10 CPD points in 2020. We will ask for evidence of your time away from work (such as a letter from your employer) to ensure that everyone is treated fairly.