It is essential that Paralegals are suitably qualified to offer legal services both in house and direct to consumers.
There are many areas of law and it is not essential to be qualified in all areas of law to become a competent practitioner.
Clearly there are some services that will require you to have knowledge across two or three areas of law and if this is the case, a practising certificate will only be issued where these requirements are met.
The Tier structure identifies the need for a ‘Level 3’ qualification for Tier 2 and this can be either academic or vocational qualifications such as AS/A2 or ‘A’ Levels; work based learning; BTEC; NVQ; GNVQ; Apprenticeships or sector qualifications such as those offered by 3rd parties.
Tier 3 requires a Level 6 qualification that might be a degree; a Higher Apprenticeship; Some Diplomas; sector qualifications such as those offered by 3rd parties.
Your Recognised Membership Body will determine whether the qualifications you hold are sufficient for each Tier.
In some instances, experience may be taken as part qualifying or fully qualifying and may be dealt with on a case by case basis.
Continual Professional Development Code
The PPR’s requirement for CPD is set out in its code.
The code is in place to ensure compliance with Rule 4, Code of Conduct that requires Paralegal Practitioners to provide a good quality of work and service to each client.
The ethos behind the CPD code is that all Paralegal Practitioners must keep up to date with the law and practice associated with the services that they offer.
Members of the PPR are responsible for their own professional development in accordance with the PPR Practitioner Rules and the Paralegal Practising Certificate Rules. Training must be provided by a training provider deemed as adequate by the relevant Recognised Membership Body (see Paralegal Practitioner Rules Rule 4 4.1)
CPD is required to be undertaken by Tier 2 Paralegals and above in accordance with PPR members’ CPD guidance document.
Members at Tier 2 and above are required to undertake a minimum of 12 hours CPD in each year of practice.
7 hours must be gained through formal means such as:
- Attendance at a legal conference
- Publishing papers, articles or books
5 hours may be gained through private study; taking part in consultations; in-house training; reading journals or books; preparing training materials or presentations.