An hour every three years

On 2 April 2004, I was a barrister and holder of a local practising certificate.

I am required to undertake continuing legal education.

Clause 176 of the Legal Profession Regulation 2005 imposes a requirement that in each three year period ending 31 March 2007, 2010 and 2013 (und so weiter), the continuing education I undertake must:

“include a component relating to the management of the practice of law that deals predominantly with the following issues:
(a) the principles of equal employment opportunity,
(b) the law relating to discrimination and harassment,
(c) occupational health and safety law,
(d) employment law,
(e) the management of legal practice consistent with paragraphs (a)-(d).”

A “component” means at least one hour’s worth.

Well the last three years are up. It’s kind of a Rumpelstiltskin moment.

I can’t remember whether I undertook “regulation 176″ CLE/CPD (“Continuing Professional Development”) in 2010-11 or 2011-12. I can’t be bothered checking.

Just to be on the safe side, I have watched on my computer a streamed video of a talk given a couple of weeks ago which was designed to meet the criteria. I am able to satisfy the requirement by watching a video in this way so long as I have already otherwise completed 4 hours of “face to face” continuing legal education.

It’s difficult to see what purpose such compliance can really serve.

9 Responses to “An hour every three years”

  1. VIRA Says:

    Not unlike other professions eg medical practitioners. Except they get paid to attend such edifying educational programs…often the program is somewhere exotic.
    For those that they have to pay for…well!!!
    For the online ones well they take time and they could be seeing patients…time is money.

    • marcellous Says:

      I had a doctor friend who seemingly dined out regularly on medical professional occasions which, as far as I could make out, were mostly sales fairs for drug companies.

      There is an industry of legal conferences at exotic locations. I’m too stingy to participate in that and not drawn by the lure of the tax-deductible trip.

      The regulation 176 requirement seems a pointless attempt to leverage a social justice program.

  2. wanderer Says:

    I can’t speak for all the medical profession but I am familiar with some specialties and the only similarity (with the legal profession) is in 176’s existence about which all I can say is the law is an ass (not very original I acknowledge). Such tokenism I would find an embarrassment and am grateful that you have drawn it to wider attention M.

    As for VIRA’s other allegations – they are as solid as the sentence construction. I am not aware of any Continuing Medical Education programmes where “they get paid to attend … often … somewhere exotic” but welcome some examples, future ones preferably.

  3. Victor Says:

    I think that is called going through the motions. Not much different from when I was in the Commonwealth Public Service.

  4. Legal Eagle Says:

    Hear hear, Marcellous.

  5. O Says:

    I think the rule was introduced as a way to periodically remind solicitors that it’s a bad idea to -xually harass your staff. Judging by some of the questions at the 176 CLEs the message isn’t really sinking in.

    • marcellous Says:

      I don’t know what questions you have heard asked, but do people who ask the questions really think it is a good idea to sexually harass their staff? Perhaps they just baulk at whether the special regulation of the profession needs to reach to such questions over and above the general law which applies to all employers and employees.

      • O Says:

        The best so far – although I must admit this I received this as first hand hearsay – is “But what if you really love her?”. Others like “What if it’s part of the culture?” or “What if people at my office are easy going and aren’t easily offended?” are common. Fair point about the need for special regulation though – no doubt the questions would be worse in other sectors.

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