Friday, March 9, 2012

Lawyers must constantly improve skills

The Star
by Roger Tan

The Bar Council will be advocating the CPD scheme at the 66th annual general meeting of the Malaysian Bar, and we, as lawyers, must not be averse to change.

TOMORROW at the 66th annual general meeting of the Malaysian Bar, the Bar Council will attempt for the fourth time, after failing in 2003, 2005 and 2006, to introduce a mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme for all practising lawyers and pupils in Peninsular Malaysia.

Under the proposed CPD scheme, a lawyer will have to chalk up 16 CPD hours or points in each 24-month cycle commencing July 1.

A pupil, on the other hand, has to accumulate eight CPD hours during his nine months of pupillage (training). The CPD points can be earned from participating in a variety of CPD activities - ranging from attending courses and seminars, lecturing, writing law books and articles (such as this I hope) to attending Bar’s general meetings and activities in accordance with a set of CPD Guidelines.

This scheme will be implemented on a voluntary basis for the first two years. After that, failure to accumulate the requisite CPD points within the stipulated period may result in the lawyer not being able to renew his practising certificate for the following year and the pupil not being able to be admitted to the Bar.

In addition to this, the non-CPD compliant lawyer may also face disciplinary proceedings as this may be tantamount to a “misconduct” within the meaning of section 94(3)(k) of the Legal Profession Act 1976 (LPA).