Continuing Professional Development FAQs

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page on Continuing Professional Development. If you have a question that isn't answered here, please contact us at cpd@qls.com.au.

Browse through some of the most commonly asked questions about Continuing Professional Development.

What counts towards CPD?

As an accredited specialist, am I required to complete more than the 10 CPD scheme units?

Yes. Accredited specialists are required to complete 10 CPD scheme units in their area of expertise and five additional units of their choice but must comply with core area requirements. As an accredited specialist, you still need to demonstrate a commitment to the maintenance of a special level of competence in the area of practice in which accreditation is held.

I have recently completed the specialist accreditation program. How many CPD units can I claim?

You can claim 10 CPD scheme units in the year of completion (eight general units and one unit in each of the compulsory core areas of practical legal ethics and professional skills). You are required to complete one additional CPD unit in the core area of practice management and business skills in order to meet your CPD requirements.

Do postgraduate studies count towards CPD scheme units?

Yes. Postgraduate study programs are recognised if you can demonstrate relevance to your legal practice, e.g. Master of Laws.

Who can claim CPD units for watching on-demand recordings?

You may claim one unit per hour for attending a live webinar or viewing an on-demand recording of a professional development event; however the session must have been recorded in the current CPD year or in January - March of the previous CPD year.

Can I claim CPD units for watching on-demand recordings?

You may claim one unit per hour for watching on-demand recordings of professional development events, such as a conference or seminar; however the recording must have been filmed in the current CPD year, or in January – March of the previous CPD year.

How do I know if the activity I’m completing is appropriate to count towards my CPD requirements?

The CPD scheme involves self-assessment, where you must consider your specific requirements for professional development (whether technical legal knowledge, professional skills or other needs) and then decide whether the activity is suitable to allow you to develop the knowledge and/or skill to be applied in legal practice.

I have recently completed the QLS Practice Management Course. How may CPD points can I claim?

You can claim 10 CPD units in the year of completion including all core units.

How do I know whether the event I am attending meets the requirements for one of the compulsory core areas?

There is no definitive list of events or activities for each of the compulsory core areas. It is up to you to assess whether the activity applies to one of the compulsory core areas.

Compliance

I reside overseas or interstate. Do I need to comply with the CPD scheme?

Yes. All practitioners holding a current Queensland practising certificate are required to undertake CPD activities wherever they reside.

Do I need to submit my record schedule?

No but you are expected to personally maintain a record of your yearly CPD activities. Audits will be carried out to ensure compliance. If selected for audit, you will be notified and requested to submit your CPD record and other supporting documentation.

What if I have not completed enough units?

If you have not attained the necessary CPD scheme units by 31 March each year, you can submit a written application, before 31 March to the CPD Committee requesting a 90 day extension.

What happens if I don’t meet my CPD obligations?

If you hold a practising certificate and cannot provide evidence of sufficient CPD commitment when audited, regulatory action can occur. Non-compliance can result in the cancellation, suspension or the placement of further conditions on your practising certificate, as determined by the Queensland Law Society Council.

What happens if I am audited but I don’t have supporting documents?

You can apply for an extension of up to 90 days to seek the documentation from the provider/s.

Exemption

I have been practising for over 40 years. Can I claim an exemption?

You may request exemption from completing your annual CPD requirements if you have been practising for more than 40 years AND you do not hold a principal practising certificate. Your application must be made in writing to the CPD Committee at cpd@qls.com.au

Do I have to apply for an exemption every year?

No. If granted an exemption, it may apply for the remainder of your legal career. You can specify how long you wish to be exempt in your written application.

How long does it take for the CPD Committee to consider and respond to my exemption request?

The CPD Committee meets quarterly. Requests for exemption are considered and a response sent within 10 working days of the CPD Committee's decision.