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Update on changes to CPD activities

Coronavirus COVID-19

We understand that some lawyers may be concerned about complying with CPD requirements in light of developments with COVID-19. For example, face-to-face CPD events may be cancelled, or you may be following advice to practise social distancing or work remotely.

In light of these circumstances, for the remainder of the CPD year ending 31 March 2020, you will not need to undertake any CPD activity requiring face-to-face or public interaction, e.g. seminars, workshops, lectures, committees, conferences and discussion groups.

While you must still complete 10 units of CPD by 31 March 2020, you can do through private study of relevant audio/visual material. For this CPD year, we will not be enforcing the 5 unit cap on this CPD format as set out in the CPD Rules for Solicitors.

Another option for all lawyers is to participate in multimedia or web-based programs, for which there is no unit cap.  We consider these programs to be distinct from private study of relevant audio/visual material where they take place in real time and/or involve an interactive element.

From 30 March 2020, you will be invited to submit your practising certificate (PC) renewal application for the 2020-21 year. As in previous years, the application will ask you to certify your compliance with the CPD rules.

For this year only, you can tick the ‘Yes’ box even if, due to the special circumstances arising from COVID-19, you have exceeded the 5 unit cap on private study of audio/visual material to complete your required 10 CPD units. The PC renewal process will then proceed as normal.

Bushfire-affected lawyers

Bushfire-affected lawyers may also be concerned about meeting CPD requirements.

If you live or work in a bushfire-affected area you can also complete your 10 units of CPD via private study of relevant audio/visual material (as outlined above).

Alternatively, if you cannot fulfil the 10 units of CPD and live or work in a bushfire-affected area, you will be fully exempted from the requirement to undertake CPD activities for the CPD year ending 31 March 2020.  If you would like an exemption, please select ‘No’ when completing your PC renewal in answer to the CPD compliance question. The LIV (or the Victorian Bar for barristers) will then contact you on our behalf to arrange an exemption.

Other lawyers who are unable to comply with CPD requirements

If you are unable to comply with your CPD obligations for other reasons (e.g. illness or other special circumstances) you can seek an exemption from the requirement to undertake CPD activities in full or in part. These applications for exemption are processed by the LIV or the Victorian Bar as normal.

General information about CPD requirements and the VLSB+C policy can be accessed here.

A reminder about contingency planning

The LIV has some resources relating to Legal Practice Contingency Planning on its website, including information on planning for COVID- 19 impacts.

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