MoJ gives CILEx members full practise rights

The Ministry of Justice has approved full practise rights for CILEx members.

The Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling, has confirmed that he will make the Order needed so that CILEx members can be authorised to practise independently in the reserved areas of probate and conveyancing.

Alongside approvals of rule changes on litigation, advocacy and immigration activities from the Legal Services Board (LSB) last year, the new order puts Chartered Legal Executives on an equal footing with other legal professionals.

Other measures will be presented to Parliament later this year that will cut red tape preventing CILEx members from practising independently, allowing ILEX Professional Standards (IPS) to regulate law firms run by Chartered Legal Executives that provide specialist legal services.

The orders follow the recommendation of the LSB in December last year and received support from both the Legal Services Consumer Panel and the Office of Fair Trading.

The decision recognises the parity between CILEx members and other legal professionals, as well as IPS’s capability to regulate new areas.

IPS Chair, Alan Kershaw, said: “This is an important step for consumer choice and for recognising the standards IPS expects of those we regulate. Consumers expect their lawyers to be well trained in their area of specialism and to have a means of recourse if they are not satisfied. These orders help ensure this, and we will now work with our colleagues in Westminster to ensure their smooth passage through Parliament.”

CILEx President Stephen Gowland also welcomed the decision: “Consumers can be confident that Chartered Legal Executive-run businesses will provide a competitive and high quality service, and the public will have greater choice over who they get their legal services from.

"Current law firms will also be able to deploy CILEx members to their full potential, and not be bound up in red tape with unnecessary sign-off requirements.As the legal services industry is changing, these orders will help make us more resilient, innovative and diverse.”

IPS will begin accepting applications for authorisation after Parliamentary approval of the current orders and expects to start accepting applications from CILEx fellows for all the rights already under the Approved Regulator banner that CILEx holds under the Legal Services Act to regulate Chartered LEgal Executives to conduct litigation, exercise rights of audience and provide immigration services without supervision.

This move will benefit thousands of law firms who currently have unnecessary bureaucracies in place to sign-off on the work of experienced Chartered Legal Executives, including those working as fee-earners and partners.

IPS is working with the MoJ on Orders to enable client protection measures, including a compensation fund and intervention arrangements, which are expected to be approved by Parliament later this year.

After the Orders have been approved in Westminster, CILEx authorised practitioners will be able to fully set up in business alone.

IPS will also apply to the LSB in due course to be able to license alternative business structures (ABS) managed or owned by non-lawyers.

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