Super-regulator the Legal Services Board has approved the abolition of the mandatory annual requirement for 16 hours of continuing professional development.

In future solicitors will be required to meet their regulatory obligation to provide a proper standard of service by regularly reflecting on their practice, and implementing a programme of individual learning and development.

Solicitors can choose to move to the new approach from 1 April and it will apply to all from 1 November 2016.

Julie Brannan (pictured), SRA director of education and training, said: ‘Our role is to ensure that consumers of legal services can be confident that those we regulate are retaining their professional competence. Our new approach enables us to uphold standards while also permitting solicitors and firms to determine training and development according to their specific needs and learning styles.

‘It is a much more rigorous approach than at present as solicitors will need to think hard about what they need to do on a regular basis to ensure they remain competent to practise.’

She added: ‘Solicitors will need to make an annual declaration that they have thought about their learning and development and addressed any needs they identify.

‘As the new approach is a significant culture change, the SRA will also be providing resources to support the profession in identifying and putting in place effective training and development.’