MCLE is the acronym for mandatory continuing legal education. In New South Wales all practising solicitors are required to complete 10 units of MCLE per annum. The MCLE year runs from 1 April to 31 March the following year. The Law Society of NSW requires solicitors to maintain a record of their MCLE activities. An MCLE audit is conducted each year and practitioners may be required to submit details of their MCLE activities to establish proof of compliance with the rules.
CPD is the acronym for continuing professional development. In New South Wales all practising barristers are required to accrue ten points each practising certificate year. The period for accumulating CPD points commences on 1 July each year and ends on 30 June the following year. Barristers are required to keep their own record of CPD activity. They will be required to affirm compliance with CPD on applying for a practising certificate.
How MCLE/CPD units are calculated
One unit/one point is achieved for each hour of face-to-face contact in lectures or class participation. In addition both the Law Society of New South Wales and the New South Wales Bar Association will approve a small proportion of content accessed remotely (such as podcasts, webinars etc) as acceptable for part of the requirement.
(Lawyers and barristers should check their individual organisational requirements in respect to this and other components).
Ensuring your MCLE/CPD is acceptable
Any educational activity which is relevant to the immediate or long-term needs of the individual practitioner – their professional development and practice of the law – will satisfy this requirement.
When courses are offered
Most postgraduate units are offered on a regular basis, although this could be just once per annum or once every two or three years.
CPD courses and further qualifications
CPD courses do not lead to further qualifications. However, 'certificates of attendance' are issued to participants in some annual seminar series', such as Employment Relations and the Law and the ACCEL Seminar Series.
Registration and payment
Registration and payment is conducted online. Online payment is via credit card, however for many events you can elect to 'pay later' via cheque if you do not have access to a credit card.