Barristers will no longer be required to do a mandatory 12 hours’ continuing professional development (CPD) a year, after new rules came into effect.

The Bar Standards Board’s (BSB) CPD accreditation scheme was scrapped on 31 December and the new regime introduced on 1 January 2017.

Barristers will now be required to follow four stages to comply. They will have to prepare a written CPD plan, setting out their objectives and review it during the year, keep a written record of their CPD activities, reflect on their planned and completed CPD activities and report annually to the BSB that they have completed it.

The CPD arrangements for those in their first three years of practice, who are on the New Practitioners Programme, have not changed. Guidance and a template to help barristers to set their objectives, structure their CPD and demonstrate how to record their reflections, are on the BSB website.

In a letter sent to all barristers, the BSB’s Director General, Dr Vanessa Davies, said: ‘Our focus will not be on disciplinary action, but on helping you to comply.

‘We will monitor and assess this via spot-checking barristers’ CPD records but we will reserve referral to our Professional Conduct Department for persistent non-compliance or non-cooperation.’

Designed in consultation with barristers, Davies said the new scheme is designed to be ‘as straightforward as possible’ and give barristers the control and flexibility to focus on the learning and development needed in order to practise.