About the Scottish Paralegal Association

CPD Requirements

Members of the Scottish Paralegal Association (SPA) will require to undertake 10 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in each practice year. A maximum of 4 of these hours may be undertaken by way of private study: the balance will require to be taken in group study.

No hours may be carried forward or completed outwith the time limits unless with the prior approval of the Committee of the SPA (the Committee) or its appointed representative.

Definition

CPD means: Relevant education and study by a paralegal to develop his or her professional knowledge, skills and abilities, and includes education and training in:

  • Specific legal areas and topics.
  • Management and organisation.
  • Communication and client care skills.
  • Other areas relevant to the paralegal's practice.
  • Any area designed to improve the individual's ability to operate properly and effectively as a paralegal.

Method

The SPA wishes members to have as much control and responsibility for their own development as possible. The parameters below are therefore expressed on broad outline only.

Private Study

Study by less than three persons together. It includes (for illustration purposes as this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Distance learning by audio/visual/correspondence courses, radio and TV courses and computer based learning.
  • Reading of relevant periodicals and books.
  • Writing relevant books or articles which are subsequently published.

No more than 4 hours private study per annum will count towards fulfilling the CPD requirement.

Group Study

Study in a group of three or more persons which lasts for a minimum of 30 minutes, and includes (for illustration purposes as this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Discussion groups.
  • Tutorials.
  • Study meetings of special interest groups.
  • Workshops, seminars or courses.

These may feature in-house training or training by outsiders and may be run by firms, departments of organisations and/or firms, local faculties and societies, groups of firms, professional training providers or otherwise.

Group study may be taken within or outwith Scotland and does not require to be in groups which only comprise paralegals or solicitors. It does not need to be relevant to the paralegal's practice.

The SPA will not accredit or recommend any course or course providers nor will it guide members on what is relevant to them. Paralegals should exercise their own reasonable judgment on what training etc. is of relevance to them.

Time spent preparing seminars and courses and delivering these to other persons shall count towards the annual requirement subject to a maximum of three hours per annum.

Monitoring and Enforcement

Paralegals will be expected to complete the record honestly and truthfully and will be required to produce their record card at the end of the practice year.

If a member has not complied with the requirement and is not entitled to exemption, further time will be given as a first sanction and independent evidence of group study will be required to be produced to show that compliance has been achieved. Continued failure may be referred to the Committee who shall deal with the matter in such a way as they may deem fit. The Committee shall have the power to revoke the membership of the paralegal in question but only after giving the member an opportunity of being heard.

Members Not Working Full Time Throughout The Year

Such members may apply for exemption of up to a maximum of 5 hours of the annual requirement. The proportion of private study and group study will be reduced pro rata with the total hours reduced.

Applications for exemption must be in writing and submitted to the Committee for consideration within 28 days of receipt, and whose decision shall be final and not open to review.

Recording CPD

SPA only members should obtain a CPD record card which must be signed off by your supervising solicitor and submitted with your annual renewal application.

CPD record cards can be obtained by contacting davidmacdougall@lawscot.org.uk

All Law Society of Scotland Registered Paralegal CPD must be recorded on the online portal.

Please note the separate CPD guidance for Registered Paralegals.

If you have any queries regarding registering on the Law Society Paralegal portal please contact David MacDougall at the Law Society davidmacdougall@lawscot.org.uk

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