In the Media

Legal executives apply for independent practice rights

PUBLISHED March 25, 2013

Monday 25 March 2013 by Catherine Baksi

Chartered legal executives will be able to provide services in probate, conveyancing, litigation and immigration if a joint application by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) and its regulator ILEX Professional Standards is successful.

The two bodies today applied to the Legal Services Board (LSB) to enable the granting of independent practice rights.

The applications are:

For ILEX Professional Standards to be designated as an approved regulator to grant reserved instrument activity rights (conveyancing) and probate activity rights under the Legal Services Act;

To alter CILEx's regulatory arrangements for awarding rights to conduct litigation to include all suitably qualified chartered legal executives by extending the existing powers in respect of criminal proceedings to civil and family proceedings and to grant related rights of audience to those who are granted rights to conduct litigation; and

To alter its regulatory arrangements for those who provide immigration advice and services.

Alan Kershaw, chair of ILEX Professional Standards, said: 'This is an idea whose time has come.' He said that over the past year he had held discussions with judges, politicians, legislators and other stakeholders and opinion-formers.

'Throughout it was clear that chartered legal executives are held in high regard. They are up to the challenge of independent practice, and there was a degree of incredulity that CILEx members have been denied these rights for so long.'

The then Institute of Legal Executives first applied to the LSB in 2011 to conduct litigation and appear before the courts in civil and family proceedings, and to deliver probate services.

The LSB has up to six months to consider the application, which is subject to approval by the lord chancellor.