CLPD Overview

This overview has been prepared in response to the many questions that have been raised about the CLPD programme. It is intended to be an aid to understanding the new regime quickly and is not to be taken as a substitute for referring to the regulations themselves whenever necessary.

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Contents

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The Legal Framework

  • The Legal Profession Act (‘LPA’) was amended in 2012 to require that, as a condition of the issuing of a practising certificate to an attorney-at-law (‘attorney’), the General Legal Council (‘GLC’) must be

    “satisfied that the attorney has complied with such requirements for continuing legal professional development as may be prescribed”

  • The Legal Profession (Continuing Legal Professional Development) Regulations came into effect on  February 1 2013
  • All attorneys are now required to participate in a minimum level of CLPD activity on a calendar year basis
  • ‘CLPD activity’ includes–
  1. participation in courses and seminars
  2. researching and writing on legal theory or practice
  3. teaching of legal courses
  4. participation in law related conferences, at home or abroad, and
  5. delivering addresses on legal topics

(See r 3 for the full list, which is intended to be indicative only and not exhaustive)

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CLPD requirements

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In 2013

  • For attorneys commencing practice on or after 1 October 2012, for calendar year 2013, a minimum of 12 credits (including six credits earned in a CLPD course in ethics and client welfare and two credits earned in a CLPD course on business management and finance).
  • For all other attorneys, a minimum of nine credits, for calendar 2013 (including four credits earned in a CLPD course in ethics and client welfare)

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2014 onwards

  • For attorneys commencing practice on or after October 1 2012, for each of their first three years of practice, reckoned from January 1 in the year following enrolment, a minimum of 16 credits (including six credits earned in a CLPD course in ethics and client welfare and two credits earned in a CLPD course on business management and finance)
  • For all other attorneys, a minimum of 12 credits during each year of practice (reckoned from January 1 2014) (including four credits earned in a CLPD course in ethics and client welfare)

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The assessment and allocation of credits

  • A statutory body, the Accreditation Committee (“the Committee), has been established with the responsibility for the assessment and allocation of credits to particular CLPD activities.
  • Credits will be conferred only for participation in CLPD programmes accredited by the Committee and therefore all courses or other activities offered for this purpose must be accredited by the Committee
  • Accreditation should ordinarily be sought and obtained at least 60 days prior to commencement of a CLPD programme, though it may also be granted, in the discretion of the Committee, retroactively
  • Accreditation may be sought and obtained for credits in respect of participation in CLPD courses or activities outside of Jamaica
  • Credits will usually be allotted in accordance with the hours spent in participation in a CLPD programme
  • Decisions of the Committee are reviewable by the GLC

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 The criteria for allocation of credits

    • In order for a CLPD course or activity to be accredited, the Committee must be satisfied that it –
  1. has significant intellectual or practical content aimed at increasing professional competence of attorneys
  2. deals primarily with substantive and procedural legal issues, practice management, professional responsibility, client welfare or ethical obligations of attorneys
  3. is being offered by a provider with demonstrated experience and ability to organise and present CLPD programmes effectively
  4. will be conducted by persons or groups qualified by practical or academic experience to do so; and
  5. is thoroughly researched, of high quality, readable and is available to participants in writing in hard or soft copy
  • The Committee may in special circumstances approve presentations to be made by experienced attorneys in an informal setting
  • Approval may be granted for courses or activities using electronically recorded or reproduced material, provided that a duly qualified instructor is available to comment and answer questions
  • Inter disciplinary courses and activities may also be considered for approval

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Reports on CLPD activities

  • No later than March 1 each year, commencing March 1, 2014, attorneys will be required to submit to the Committee details of any CLPD programme undertaken by the attorney in the preceding year
  • No later than June 30 each year, the Committee shall send to each attorney a report of the Committee’s assessment of the credits earned by the attorney in the preceding year and of the credits, if any, carried forward into the current year
  • If the report shows that the attorney has failed to meet the minimum CLPD requirement for the preceding year, the Committee will so advise the attorney and require him or her to satisfy it that the requirement has been met no later than September 30 of the current year
  • No later than October 31 in each year, the Committee shall send a final report to non-compliant attorneys, giving them until December 15 of the current year to satisfy it that they are in compliance and have made up any deficiency for the preceding year
  • The Committee may extend time for compliance in response to a written request based on a valid reason or excuse
  • The Committee shall by December 31 of each year report to the GLC the names of all non-compliant attorneys in respect of the preceding year and, subject to an extension of time for any valid reason or excuse for failure to comply, the GLC may withhold the issue of a practising certificate

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Exemptions

  • There are no blanket exemptions from CLPD requirements, which are equally applicable to Queen’s Counsel, attorneys in government service, full-time law teachers and the like
  • Attorneys may apply to the Committee for total or partial exemption from CLPD requirements on particular grounds, which may include unemployment, pregnancy, illness or employment outside of Jamaica

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Appeals

  • Attorneys may appeal to the GLC from decisions of the Committee and, in general, an appeal lies from a decision of the GLC to the Court of Appeal

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B. St. Michael Hylton, Q.C.
CHAIRMAN


Comments

CLPD Overview — 9 Comments

  1. Are these CLPD courses only for Attorneys? I have a law degree and in the process of pursuing a Masters, can i also do the CLPD courses? I do have a vested interest in the law despite not being an Attorney as yet

  2. Re the carrying over of credits. Clarification is needed. Regulation 19(2) states “No later than June 30 each year, the Committee shall send to each attorney a report of the Committee’s assessment of the credits earned by the attorney in the preceding year and of the credits, if any, carried forward into the current year” yet persons are being told they cannot carry over excess credit. The regulation clearly seems to make reference to what Mr. ziadie is referring to.

  3. A clever, bold but painful fund raising strategy on the part of the GLC
    NMLS graduates should not be made to pay for curriculum deficiencies in these dire times. To make CLPD a statutory mandate is draconian.

  4. Good overview. However I have not yet seen clarification RE persons who teach courses such as NMLS tutors or UWI Lecturers. Can this be clarified as I do not see yet what the position will be. It would serve as an incentive to lawyers assisting with the education of the next generation of attorneys.

  5. Would that not then defeat the purpose of the programme. I suspect the programme is designed to make you more efficient, make you better attorneys. The courses are there to help you. Why should you allow to carry over credit. What if there are relevant courses the next year, new developments. It is submitted that you should not be allowed to carry over any credits.

    • It would not defeat the purpose of the programme for attorneys to be permitted to carry over a specified maximum number of credits (e.g. 6 credits). In fact, the current scenario probably disincentivizes attorneys, once they have completed their required points in a particular year, from going to training later in that year that would be of interest and benefit to them, because they think it would be a “waste” to spend money on training that won’t count towards the requirement. All law and procedure doesn’t just become null and void from one year to the next. The vast majority of it remains the same. Moreover, it is likely that any seminars being put on in a particular year will be about current or future developments in the law, which won’t just stop being topical once January 1 of the next year rolls around.

  6. i agree with the recommendation made by counsel Mr Victor Ziadie re: crediting attorneys with excess credits gained in one year for the subsequent year. Is there any position on this by the committee?

  7. I am suggesting that if an attorney accumulates more than the minimum required credits for a particular year, the excess credits may be carried forward on account of his required quota for the following year.

Comments invited