Each lawyer is required to develop and maintain a written CPD plan, and to record, document, reflect on and verify their CPD activities. These documents are known collectively as the “CPD Plan and Record” – the CPDPR.
The CPDPR is developed and maintained by:
There is no prescribed format for the CPDPR.
Lawyers will need to be able to show that they have participated in each CPD activity through an attendance record, certificate, receipt, letter, firm record or other means. Forms and receipts should be signed by the participant and counter-signed by the organiser or a named participant. Completion certificates, attendance records, letters from organisers and assessment results are also likely to be used for verification.
All lawyers who provide regulated services (as defined by the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006) are required to complete at least 10 hours of CPD activities during each full CPD year. Lawyers who do not provide regulated services for a full year may pro-rate their requirements as set out in Schedule 1 of the CPD Rules.
The requirement is a minimum requirement. A sizeable proportion of New Zealand lawyers already complete more than 10 hours of CPD each year, and there is no maximum or limit for particular CPD activities.
Some lawyers hold practising certificates but do not provide regulated services. Lawyers who do not provide regulated services are not required to complete any hours of CPD activities, but still need to prepare a CPDPR and to file declarations to that effect.
Declarations of compliance with the CPD Rules must be filed for each CPD year (which ends 31 March). Lawyers completing their CPD requirements before the end of the year may file their declarations early. Late declarations may also be filed at any time. Lawyers not completing their CPD requirements may be referred to a standards committee.
Because CPD is a very important element in legal practice, there will be no exemptions. Deferments may be possible in exceptional circumstances.
The New Zealand Law Society will be able to audit any lawyer’s compliance with the CPD Rules. It is intended that the audit process will be supportive and non-punitive. However, false declarations of compliance will be reported to a lawyers standards committee.
Organisations may be able to apply for self-auditing status. This will enable them to integrate CPD with in-house or in-firm performance appraisal schemes. Read Self-audit status - background information or download the application form.