The Solicitors Regulation Authority is to research this year whether standards of criminal advocacy are declining and whether solicitors are to blame. As part of the research, the SRA said it would ask judges whether solicitor-advocates were “working beyond their level of competence”.
An influential Conservative MP has said he is “very keen” to see how the legal regulators could work “much more closely together”. Alberto Costa is a solicitor and member of the justice select committee.
Legal apprenticeships funded by the government are on course to start next September, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and the Council for Licensed Conveyancers have confirmed.
CILEx Regulation – the regulatory arm of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives – is searching for a new chairman after the man who was due to take over last week decided against doing so. In February, CILEx announced that Quinton Quayle, a former British ambassador to Thailand, had been appointed.
Solicitors, barristers and legal executives have been told by their professional bodies to be polite and non-judgemental when dealing with litigants in person (LiPs), and take “extra care to avoid using inflammatory words or phrases”.
A report for the Bar Council on the future of criminal justice and advocacy has recommended that legal executives are kept out of the Crown Courts, while solicitors should only be granted rights of audience if they have undergone the same level of training as barristers.
There has been strong interest from new and existing law firms in being overseen by the regulatory arm of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), it said yesterday, with over 50 enquiries.
The Bar Standards Board has turned to the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives to provide training to members of staff without legal qualifications. Meanwhile, ILEX Professional Standards – CILEx’s regulatory arm – is on the hunt for a new chief executive.
ILEX Professional Standards (IPS) has applied to the Legal Services Board (LSB) to raise the maximum fines limit for chartered legal executives from the current £3,000 to a top level of £50m.
Chartered legal executives will be able to set up their own law firms in the New Year – a move that ILEX Professional Standards said would for the first time also give solicitors’ firms a choice of regulator, and that the government said would help consumers access legal services.