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CPD for solicitors - new approach mandatory for all solicitors from 1 November 2016

CPD: What is changing?

CPD requirements are changing from a requirement to complete a fixed number of hours per year to an approach of continuing competence, which requires a solicitor to

‘consider and undertake the learning and development you deem necessary to ensure your ongoing competence and that you are in a position to provide a proper standard of service to your clients.’

When does it change?

The new approach has been voluntary since 1 April 2015 but is mandatory for all solicitors in England and Wales from 1 November 2016.

What do the new requirements mean?

In essence a solicitor must

  • Reflect on their practice by reference to the SRA Competence Statement
  • Identify their learning and development needs
  • Plan how to address their training needs
  • Address those needs
  • Record and evaluate the learning activity
  • Declare annually on the relevant Practicing Certificate Renewal Form that "I have reflected on my practice and addressed any identified learning and development needs."

Training records must be retained for a period of at least six years and the SRA may request to see a person’s training record at any time.

How can Emplaw Help?

Emplaw online provides the learning to support continuing competence and the tools to record and evaluate it.

A subscription to Emplaw Online not only gives you access to 100s of incisive guides and 1000s of cases, but also you receive a regular email update called Emplaw Monthly, which can be used to support continuing competence.

Our guides enable targeted research whilst Emplaw Monthly keeps your knowledge up to date.

Emplaw Monthly is a professional publication written by practicing employment lawyers. The subscription version presents a considered and incisive view of the month’s developments including detailed case summaries (with links to full reports) as well as the up to date legislative developments and employment news.

Subscribers have a personal online Learning & development (L&D) page where they record and assess their learning with useful prompts

Subscribers have a personal L & D page (linked at the top of each page just below the emplaw online logo) where they can create a Learning & Development Record and Evaluation sheet to store and print as required as part of their training record.

Whilst the decision on what training and development a solicitor needs is an assessment for each individual, targeted research and keeping up to date with the changes in the law that are relevant to your practice will always be important. We would suggest:

Studying Emplaw Monthly and taking a few moments to evaluate what you have read including:

  • any key learning points such as cases or news of interest; and 
  • any actions you will take as a result such as using information in a current case or communicating information to a client.

You can also use the L &D record to record specific research at Emplaw Online.


An individual annual subscription to Emplaw Online costs £475 (+ VAT) for unlimited access to our data bank of information and 12 editions of Emplaw Monthly. For larger practices we are currently offering discounts on organisational membership so that the firm can be sure that the whole team are up to date. For more information, please contact us as per the details below, stating the number of logins you would be interested in.

Other tools to help

The SRA has a development plan template and development record template at

This is part of a continuing competence tool kit found at

 Emplaw Online has also provided material for CPD and continuing competence courses provided by infolaw's Internet for Lawyers online CPD which focus on how lawyers can make best use of the internet.g

Contact Information

Find us at

Subscription information is at

Email us at enquiriesatemplaw [dot] co [dot] uk  

Call us on 0333 4440179