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SRA commissions research into Continuing Professional Development

Professor Andrew Boon of Westminster University has been appointed by the SRA to undertake research into Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in the legal profession - the first project of its kind for over 25 years.

This research will be carried out ahead of any findings from the much heralded Legal Services Education and Training Review (Review 2020) which the SRA, Bar Standards Board (BSB) and ILEX Professional Standards (IPS) are commissioning this year. A number of firms and solicitors will be taking part in this specific research from the beginning of the 2011/2012 CPD year which commences on 1st November and the SRA is inviting any interested parties to get in touch.

Professor Boon, an expert in legal education, will examine different options for regulatory requirements relating to CPD, as well as how to demonstrate compliance, using the subject of ethics as a specific example. The scope of the project will also include an examination of the difference between conduct and ethics.

Alongside this research, the SRA is planning a similar exercise into management training. All solicitors are required to complete the Management Course Stage 1 within first three years of qualification as part of the current CPD scheme.

The main objective of the SRA’s CPD review will be to create a new scheme that:

  • properly helps to maintain and improve solicitors' competence, performance and ethical conduct;
  • is proportionate, targeted and based upon the principles of outcome-focused regulation;
  • actively helps solicitors to progress their careers and remain competent; and
  • is properly monitored and enforced.

Di Lawson, the SRA's Head of Training, said: "The current compulsory scheme was introduced in 1985 and only minor amendments have been made since that time. Its main benefit has always been its flexibility, with only 25 per cent needing to be met by taking part in accredited courses. Other than the mandatory management course that solicitors attend within the first three years following admission, and specific requirements for higher court advocates, we do not currently specify how solicitors should meet their annual 16 hour CPD requirement, how we assess the relevance of the CPD undertaken or even ask solicitors to do so themselves.

"We are extremely pleased that Professor Boon has agreed to contribute to our research into CPD which is long overdue. The findings of the project will contribute to the overall Education and Training Review and form the basis of important changes we need to make to ensure that the whole standards of the profession are robust, ensure competence and public confidence."

Anyone interested in taking part in the CPD review programme, and specifically in testing new CPD models should

 

Note to editors

Further media information from Lesley Miller, 07791 162186 or email lesley.miller@sra.org.uk

Background Notes

Professor Andrew Boon (Dean of School) Solicitor (admitted 1976). LL.B.(Leics.) 1973, PGCE (1986), Masters degree in Higher and Further Education (1990), Ph.D. (1999). Solicitor in private practice (1976-82) before joining South Bank Polytechnic as Senior Lecturer. Honorary Legal Adviser at South Lambeth Citizens Advice Bureau between 1982 and 1989. Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. Joined the University of Westminster in 1989 as a principal lecturer in law. Project Co-ordinator of the Enterprise in Higher Education initiative (part secondment 1991-4). Associate Head of School (1994-5). Head (now Dean) of School (1995).

Educational consultant to the Inns of Court School of Law (1988) and to the Law Society of England and Wales (2002). For the General Council of the Bar of England and Wales he has served on the Education and Training Committee, Continuing Professional Development Committee and Monitoring Committee. Education and training advisor to panels monitoring the Bar Vocational Courses (1997). Member of the Law Society's Training Framework Review Group (2004-2006).

Published numerous papers on lawyers, legal profession, legal education and professional ethics. Authored, with Prof. Jenny Levin (University of Wales, Swansea), the first academic text to offer an extended analysis of the ethics and conduct of the English legal professions (The Ethics and Conduct of Lawyers in England and Wales). Has held research grants from the Lord Chancellors Advisory Committee on Education and Conduct, the Law Society, the Nuffield Foundation and the UK Centre for Legal Education. Served as Executive Committee member of the Socio-legal Studies Association. Member, ISA/RCSL Working Group on Legal Professions. Member, International Advisory Board of Legal Ethics.

For more information on Professor Andy Boon please visit: http://westminster.academia.edu/AndrewBoon

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