CPD requirements

Training for Tomorrow: A new approach to continuing competence

On 21 May 2014, following formal consultation, the SRA Board agreed to implement a new approach to ensure solicitors remain competent to practice. The new approach will be implemented for all solicitors from 1 November 2016. However, solicitors can choose to move to this new approach from 1 April 2015.

The implementation of our new approach affects how you meet your continuing professional development (CPD) requirements until 1 November 2016. Until 31 October 2016, solicitors can choose either:

  • i) to follow existing CPD requirements; or
  • ii) from 1 April 2015, to adopt the new approach to continuing competence.

The information below provides details on our current approach and is relevant for those solicitors that choose to comply with our existing requirements.

We will issue further information on our new approach to continuing competence in Spring 2015. This includes a tool kit and Competence Statement designed to help solicitors to move to the new approach.


Last updated 13 November 2014

CPD scheme

Following existing CPD requirements until 31 October 2016

If you are a solicitor or registered European lawyers (RELs) who is

  • in legal practice or employment in England and Wales, and
  • work more than two hours per week

then you can choose to follow our existing SRA Training Regulations 2011 Part 3 – CPD Regulations until 31 October 2016. Please note that subject to Legal Services Board Approval, we will making a number to minor amendments to our existing CPD regulations. These include the removal of the requirement to undertake accredited training. From 1 November 2014, there will be no requirement to undertake accredited training as part of the 16 hours CPD requirement.

Non-compliance could lead to disciplinary procedures and/or to delays in the issue of a practising certificate. Full details of

  • the annual cycle,
  • hours of training required,
  • part-time workers requirements, and
  • activities that count towards CPD

appear in the SRA Handbook.

Management Course

Solicitors (but not RELs) in legal practice or employment in England and Wales are required to attend the Management Course Stage 1 before the end of their third CPD year.

We are currently consulting on a proposal (the Red Tape initiative) to remove the requirement to take Management Course Stage 1.

Subject to the outcome of the consultation and approval by the Legal Services Board, we intend to remove the regulatory requirement of solicitors to take Management Course Stage 1 from 1 April 2015.

Until this point, solicitors are still required to take Management Course Stage 1. This comprises a minimum of seven hours of course attendance and at least three of the following topics must be covered:

  • Managing finance
  • Managing the firm
  • Managing client relations
  • Managing information
  • Managing people

The Management Course Stage 2 is optional.

If you wish to apply for exemption from the course, you should do so within the first three years after admission—you cannot apply for exemption if you are in breach of the regulation.

Maintaining a CPD training record

You must keep a record of all CPD training you undertake.

We may ask to see your training record at any time—for monitoring purposes.

Read on to learn more about recording your CPD activities.

Recording your CPD

All solicitors and registered European lawyers (RELs) in legal practice or employment in England and Wales are required to keep a record of CPD activities they undertake, as stipulated by Part 5 of the SRA Training Regulations 2011 Part 3 - CPD Regulations.

We do not maintain records of individual solicitors' CPD activities.

It is the responsibility of each solicitor/REL to record details of training they undertake, including the number of CPD hours they accrue.

Solicitors and RELs who work part time (i.e. fewer than 32 hours per week) should specify in their training record the number of hours per week they work.

We may request to see your CPD training record at any time. You should keep your training record on file for a period of at least six years.

Download a training record form

Assessing training needs

We encourage all solicitors and RELs to adopt a planned approach to their CPD.

By assessing your own individual training needs and linking them to the objectives of the organisation in which you work, you will gain the maximum benefit from CPD.

Undertake CPD activities that meet your needs

To determine your training needs, you could utilise a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT) analysis, based on your own profile and circumstances.

As the name suggests, a SWOT analysis is designed to help you gauge your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This, in turn, will allow you to identify the types of training you should undertake, for inclusion in your own training and development plan (PDF 1 page, 45K).

Download a training profile, training needs analysis, and training and development plan

You should enter details of all training completed in your CPD training record.

Frequently asked questions – for solicitors

To help solicitors and RELs understand and comply with the requirements of the scheme, we have published a list of frequently asked questions.

Frequently asked questions – for solicitors