Understanding your continuing competence requirements

We require solicitors and registered lawyers to maintain their competence to carry out their role. This means you must keep your knowledge and skills up to date, including any relevant legal, ethical and regulatory obligations relevant to your role.

Who our requirements apply to:

  • Solicitors, registered European lawyers or registered foreign lawyers who have a practising certificate or registration.
  • In-house solicitors who have a practising certificate.
  • A solicitor who is exempt from holding a practising certificate under Section 88 of the Solicitors Act 1974.
  • A solicitor practising overseas, but their practice predominantly relates to England and Wales, as set out in rule 1.3 of our Overseas and Cross-border Practice Rules.

Steps we expect you to take:

  1. Reflect – regularly consider the quality of your practice, in all aspects of your role.
  2. Identify – through reflection, identify your learning and development needs.
  3. Plan and address – regularly update a plan on how you will address your learning and development needs.
  4. Record – keep an up-to-date record of your learning and development activity.
  5. Evaluate – think about the effectiveness of your learning and development.

Find out more about these steps and how to complete them:

Use our learning and development template to record your activities. We also have templates that help you reflect, prioritise and evaluate your needs.

Find out more in our Competence Statement.

Declaring you are competent

As part of the annual practising certificate renewals, you must declare that you:

  • have up to date understanding of the legal, ethical and regulatory obligations relevant to your role and
  • have reflected and addressed any identified learning and development needs and
  • are competent to perform your role.

When making this declaration, you should satisfy yourself that you:

  • are acting honestly and with integrity in making the declaration
  • have addressed any identified learning and development needs
  • are competent in all aspects of your role, not just technical legal practice.

Whilst not a regulatory requirement, you should consider how you can evidence you are maintaining your competence if required by us through our work.

We can restrict your practice if we have concerns about your competence based on the information you provide when making this declaration.

What firms must do

To comply with our Code of Conduct for Firms, all firms we regulate must make sure that their solicitors and registered lawyers are competent to carry out their role.

Additional resources

We have additional resources to help you meet your requirements if you practise:

    Steps to continuing competence

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    Use www.sra.org.uk/cpd to link to this page.