CPD requirements: applying for extension of time


COVID-19: A message from President Tim Game SC

I would like to draw members’ attention to the following matters this afternoon.

$130 Billion Jobkeeper Package

Late this afternoon the Federal Government has announced a subsidy package to help Australians financially affected by COVID-19-related issues. Eligible businesses are to include sole traders. The Bar Association is awaiting further details regarding the package and will keep members informed of developments.

Applying for an extension of time to complete CPD requirements

We understand the disruption to CPD presentations that has resulted from public health restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has caused difficulties for members who have not yet completed their CPD requirements for the period ending 31 March 2020.

The Bar Association is now offering members who are unable to comply with their CPD requirements by 31 March for any reason the opportunity to seek an extension of time to complete their necessary CPD points.

An exemption, in whole or in part, from the requirement to complete CPD activity by 31 March may also be sought in exceptional circumstances as set out in Rule 13 of the Legal Profession Uniform Continuing Professional Development (Barristers) Rules 2015.

The Bar Association acknowledges that the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes exceptional circumstances, and applications will be granted in the usual course, however exemptions, reductions or extensions must be sought in writing and directed to the Director, Professional Development, Bali Kaur at bkaur@nswbar.asn.au

The Bar Association also encourages practitioners to make use of CPD Online to meet their CPD obligations prior to the CPD year ending 31 March 2020. There is no limit to the number of points that can be accrued through the private study of audio-visual material. To further assist members in completing there CPD points, the association has prepared a companion guide information package with links to a small sample of recent online CPD sessions.

Legal Aid

Following a request to the Chief Executive Officer of Legal Aid NSW for advice and clarification regarding Legal Aid arrangements in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Legal Aid has advised as follows:

  • Where jury trials are postponed as a result of COVID-19, Legal Aid NSW will pay practitioners for preparation and appearance at the hearing of pre-trial issues. Legal Aid NSW will also continue to provide the usual funding for any judge alone trials which are proceeding. Where matters such as appeals are able to proceed via AVL, Legal Aid NSW will continue to pay barristers for the work involved;

  • Pending formal approval of a fee scale covering case management under the new practice notes, Legal Aid NSW Grants staff will use existing fee work items to approve funding to enable practitioners to be paid for this work. Barristers should ask their instructing solicitors to request "additional preparation" in the Grants Online template, indicating that the preparation is required to enable compliance with the practice note. If barristers have any questions about payment, they can call (02) 9219 5999, option 1.

Members experiencing difficulties with prompt payment by Legal Aid should notify the association's Deputy Executive Director Alastair McConnachie at amcconnachie@nswbar.asn.au.

The Bar Association will continue to liaise with Legal Aid NSW and keep members informed of developments.

COVID - 19 : Information for Attending Court

The New South Wales Bar Association’s consolidated guide to COVID-19-related Court arrangements has today again been updated in terms of recent developments and includes:

Members are advised in this regard that, although the Bar Association is regularly updating the COVID-19 page of its website as information comes to hand, please always double-check the latest court resources directly as developments are changing quickly at this time. Do not make any assumptions regarding your case without first doing so. Links to the various court and tribunal pages are provided in the body of the guide.

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