Recognizing your learning

The term “CPD points” has been used in many other countries, and signifies the unit of compliance allocated to a learning activity. There are numerous ways to obtain CPD points in terms of method, location, need for development and affordability.

Although the final number of CPD points required and the length of the fixed period for compliance has yet to be approved, to accustom you to the sort of system that is usually used Clearlaw can recognise what you have participated in or completed, allocate it the notional number of points according to this matrix, and record the total for you.

We have done this on the basis that one cycle will be 3 years, which reflects the most recent thinking of the National Legal Forum in the lead-up to the transition to the LPC. This period also allows time for each practitioner to plan their learning activities. The Clearlaw platform also ensures that monitoring of compliance is conducted in the least onerous and least costly manner for both members of the profession, and the LPC.

The matrix recognises that time is money for legal practitioners, but also that value does not always equal time. It also recognises that sometimes taking in something of interest rather than of direct application, is still relevant and useful to us as professionals and people. It recognises that the effort involved in preparing a course or article and delivering a course is often as valuable as attending one or answering a set of questions on a case study, for example.

The key criteria therefore are attendance, completion, reflection and competence but innovation, participation, and making a contribution will also be recognised.

Any combination of courses and points will qualify. Complexity of the materials and activity will also be recognised.

The following matrix for CPD points has been developed by Clearlaw:

  • in keeping with the initial thoughts of the National Legal Forum when considering the mandate of the National Legal Council (the Council) to promote Practical Law Insights or Continuing Professional Development (CPD);
  • in line with other professional services sectors in South Africa, such as the insurance, pharmaceutical, accounting and medical sectors;
  • and along the same lines as international best practice.

Here are some indicative points:

Item Type of learningMaximum time Maximum points available per item
APreparing and/or delivering a full-day course, lecture or workshop6 hours for preparation6
BPreparing and/or delivering a half-day course, lecture or workshop3 hours for preparation3
CAttending a full-day course, lecture or workshop6 hours6
DAttending a half-day course, lecture or workshop3 hours3
EPreparing and/or delivering a course of between 1 and 2 hours2 hours2
FAttending a lecture of between 1 and 2 hours2 hours2
GEngaging in an exercise of between 0.5 and 1 hours which may require a response1 hour for the exercise
1 hour for the response
1 or 2

Engaging in an exercise may include watching a video or graphic presentation online, or reviewing an article or judgement.  To qualify for the points for an online exercise which also includes answering questions, the answers must correct.  A course of longer duration than set out above (for example, a diploma that runs over a number of weeks or months) could also be considered for CPD points.  We welcome your suggestions in this regard.

In addition to the allocation of points, within every year or 3-year cycle certain content items will need to be completed.  The most likely topics in each category are:

  • Mandatory courses e.g. ethics, basic drafting, administrative law; or the Constitution
  • Value courses e.g. specialist updates in your field, a client-relationship course, a course on billing, addressing complaints correctly, administrative law or the Constitution, listening skills and drafting

Points will initially be allocated by the Clearlaw system in the following way:

PQEPoints required in a 3-year cycleExamples using maximum number of the same items in the 3-year cycle
0-6 years726 A + 6 C courses
12 B + 12 D courses
18 E + 18 F courses
Any other mix of any of the above, up to the maximum number
6-12 years54(6 A or 6 C courses) + 6 B courses
12 B courses + 9 E courses
6 A courses + 6 B courses
Any other mix of any of the above, up to the maximum number
>12 years366 A or 6 C courses
12 B courses
6 B courses + 6 D courses
Any other mix of any of the above, up to the maximum number

Recording your CPD points is a simple as accessing the course from the type of content that you want to engage with.  The Clearlaw system will automatically record the number of CPD points allocated to that course to your profile, and you can review this at any time.

Anyone else who is managing your profile can also access your CPD points and keep track of the courses you are engaging with, so for example, your ongoing learning can form part of your performance appraisal.

Please give us your feedback at or by clicking here.

Remember that this system may change once the Council turns its attention to the requirements of mandatory continuing legal education.