Clarification of revised NSBS CPD Requirement for 2016 reporting

The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society requires all practising lawyers to create an annual professional development plan and commit it to writing (see Regulation 8.3.6). Each year, lawyers will be asked to indicate on their Annual Lawyer Report whether they have prepared and written their CPD Plan and implemented their plan from the previous year.

For the current year ending on May 31, 2016, all practising lawyers are still expected to complete 12 hours of CPD and to keep a record of these hours for audit purposes. You will not be required to enter these hours on the CPD Log as in the past several years.

Commencing June 1, 2016, you will be expected to have your CPD Plan in place for the reporting year. You will be asked about this plan on your 2016 Annual Lawyer Report. If you report that you do not yet have a plan, the Society will follow up with you to ensure that you have a plan in place before the end of August.

Pursuant to Regulation 8.3.4, all practising lawyers are expected to complete a minimum of 12 hours of professional development in each reporting year.

You may use any type of professional development plan that works for your type of practice as long as it is in writing and can be produced should the need arise. If you or your firm or other legal entity already have a structure for creating and implementing plans, then you do not need to change your methods.

Although the Society will ask you to report each June if you have a plan, your plan does not need to run from June 1 to May 31. Some organizations create professional development plans that operate over a calendar year. That’s fine. There is no need to change. As long as you are able to report that at all times that you are practising you have a professional development plan, it need not coincide with the Society’s fee year.

Although there are no strict requirements for what may be included in your CPD Plan, it’s a good idea to include the following elements:

  • substantive legal education and skills development;
  • risk and practice management; and
  • professionalism and cultural competency

The Society has developed some model plans that you may use to create a plan, should you wish to do so. These will soon be available on the website; please note, the entire CPD section of the website is currently being updated.

Our Education & Credentials staff are also happy to work with you or your organization to assist you in creating a unique plan should you wish to do so. Please contact us if you would like assistance, by emailing us at or calling our line at 902 422 1491, ext. 371 and leaving a message. We will respond as quickly as possible.

The NSBS CPD Requirement is a flexible and convenient method to ensure lawyers meet both their professional duty of competence and the Society’s public interest mandate, by implementing a regulatory program to ensure the ongoing competence and professionalism of lawyers in Nova Scotia. As the Society regulates lawyers in the public interest, it is important to be accountable and demonstrate to the public that lawyers maintain and strive for high levels of professionalism and competence in the practice of law.

If you hold non-practising status at some time during the reporting year, you will not be expected to undertake continuing professional development during that time, however you will be expected to have a professional development plan in place for the months that you are practising. If you are suspended at any time during the year, you are still required to have and implement your plan pursuant to Regulation 8.3.8.