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Continuing Professional Development will be compulsory for all legal practitioners

by on June 17, 2010

This month, The Singapore Academy of Law (“SAL”) has said that it will be seeking public feedback on a proposed plan to introduce a compulsory Continuing Professional Development (“CPD”) scheme for the legal profession in Singapore.

The SAL announcement stated, in part:

“Under this scheme, Singapore lawyers will be required to fulfil a specified number of hours every year on legal education programmes before they can renew their practising certificates.  The introduction of a mandatory legal education scheme for all advocates and solicitors was recommended in the September 2007 Report by the Committee to Develop the Singapore Legal Sector chaired by Judge of Appeal Justice V K Rajah. The Committee was of the view that this would not only broaden the legal knowledge of practitioners but will also provide useful training for those who are contemplating switching to a different area of practice. The Government accepted this recommendation.

“The law is a profession of life-long learning and the best lawyers are those who learn all the time,” said Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong.  “For the CPD scheme to be effective, it must be seen as providing real value to both the individual practitioner as well as the wider legal community. Lawyers must be attracted to attend such courses as they would be brought up to speed on the latest developments in the law without having to invest large amounts of time, effort and resources.
Continuing professional development (or continuing legal education as it is referred to in the U.S.) has been practiced by other professions in Singapore and abroad for decades.  However, the jurisdiction has been a bit slower to adopt a compulsory system for lawyers compared to similar legal markets. The committee in charge of forming the plan will examine the operation of CPD schemes in some of these other jurisdictions, including the U.K., Hong Kong, Australia and others.   They will also be looking to gather support and insight from other major organizations in the Singapore legal community, such as the NUS and SMU law schools, the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association, the Senior Counsel Forum and law firms of all sizes.

At the outset, CPD programs and courses will be run by already accredited organizations such as the Singapore Academy of Law, the Law Society, National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University.  However, law firms and other organizations who wish to provide CPD seminars may apply for accreditation.  For more information on the scheme you can learn more at the home of the Singapore Academy of Law.

For more information on CPD/CLE in general, please subscribe to keep up to date on the latest developments, visit us at Law Alliance or send us question in the comments section.

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