The Covid-19 update for 2021 by the Law Society states that “In light of current circumstances with regard to Covid-19 and the risk posed by attendance at in-person group events over the next number of weeks and months, the Education Committee has decided that for the 2021 CPD cycle, the eLearning limit of 50% (modified or otherwise) will be removed.

Accordingly, solicitors may now complete the entire 2021 CPD requirement of 20 hours (including minimum requirements in the categories of ‘Management and Professional Development Skills’ and ‘Regulatory Matters’) online.”

Prior to Covid, the Regulations provide that a ‘CPD credit of up to a maximum of 50% of a solicitor’s minimum CPD requirement (modified or otherwise) may be claimed for time spent in relevant eLearning, for example, up to a maximum of 10 hours may be claimed for time spent in relevant eLearning in’ 2019.

There are two exceptions to this ‘maximum of 50% by eLearning‘ rule:

  • solicitors may claim a minimum of 5 hours eLearning per CPD cycle; accordingly, if a solicitor has a modified CPD requirement of 8 hours CPD, he/she may claim a maximum of 5 hours for time spent in relevant eLearning (as 5 hours is the minimum eLearning allowance).’
  • A senior practitioner may complete their entire modified yearly CPD requirement (3 hours CPD) by eLearning.

eLearning is defined in the Regulations as “the provision of education or training (or both) that is generated, communicated, processed, sent, received, recorded, stored and/or displayed by electronic means or in electronic form, and includes education or training (or both) provided through:

(i) the internet or other computer network connections, sound only or sound and vision formats, or a combination thereof;

(ii) the provision of an electronic file, a CD-Rom and/or a DVD;

(iii) other technologies or formats”.

As with all CPD, the eLearning CPD must be in an objectively verifiable format (by way of a certificate of completion of the course / programme by the course / programme provider), and such verification of completion of eLearning in whatever format undertaken is the responsibility of the solicitor who is claiming the hours.

At your option (and subject to a maximum of ten (10) hours of the annual twenty (20) hours requirement, except for 2021 when this cap is removed due to Covid-19), you may do eLearning on an individual basis, i.e. not as part of a group/Group Study. In other words, there is no requirement for there to be a group of three of more people to fulfill this three hour optional eLearning element of the CPD Scheme for 2021.

You should note that a ‘live feed’ of a lecture/training session or the viewing of a pre-recorded lecture/training session (regardless of same being viewed in a group of 3 or more people) falls within the eLearning category (and may not be claimed as group study).

As with all CPD, the subject matter of the eLearning will determine its relevance and whether it constitutes General, Management or Regulatory Matters CPD.