While you’re here… help us stay here.

Are you enjoying open access to policy and research published by a broad range of organisations? Please donate today so that we can continue to provide this service.


This report offers a broad review of how legal regulators in a range of different jurisdictions are managing and improving the ongoing competence of their lawyers.

It addresses the following questions:

  • What are legal regulators doing about ongoing competence? 
  • Why are some of the most common approaches, notably Continuing Professional Development (CPD), being reviewed or challenged?
  • How are they being improved?
  • What other tools are regulators using? and
  • What lessons can regulators in England and Wales draw from others’ experience?

Part 1 presents a conceptual model to explain why ongoing competence assurance schemes may have very different intentions and produce very different results.

Part 2 reviews traditional hours based CPD systems and the main criticisms levelled at them.

Part 3 summarises how hours-based schemes have been modified by regulators to accommodate new requirements and address weaknesses. 

Part 4 examines some other ex-ante (input) measures and ex-post (review) measures used for ongoing competence assurance in other jurisdictions. It reiterates the importance of an overall framework to link different measures. It highlights the experience of three regulators in Canada, Australia and the Netherlands who are most advanced in their thinking in this area.

The report concludes with some thoughts on the lessons to be drawn from the experience of other jurisdictions.

Publication Details
Access Rights Type: