The Lord Chancellor has welcomed the approval of the redesigned qualification that allows students without degrees to qualify as chartered legal executives with full practice rights.
After rule changes approved by the Legal Services Board and in turn regulatory approval from CILEX Regulation, the CILEX Professional Qualification (CPQ) is now open for enrolments.
CILEX (the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives), which designed the CPQ, has also committed £275,000 to fund up to 22 scholarships annually for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, through the CILEX Foundation.
Robert Buckland tweeted: “I welcome the opening of @CILEXLawyers new and improved Professional Qualification to applicants. It will ensure this country continues to produce the best and brightest lawyers in the world.”
The CPQ introduces mandatory elements of legal technology, business skills and emotional intelligence into legal training for the first time.
To be eligible for a CILEX Lawyer Scholarship, worth up to £12,500, applicants will need to demonstrate that their finances and particular circumstances mean it is challenging for them to access a legal education.
Support will be targeted at those under-represented in the legal profession and/or from a socially disadvantaged background.
The CPQ provides students with three outcomes – CILEX Lawyer, CILEX Advanced Paralegal and CILEX Paralegal – depending on what they want for their careers.
CILEX argues that, by not making a degree or equivalent qualification or experience a pre-requisite, the CPQ will be a “substantially more affordable way for students to become lawyers than the new Solicitors Qualifying Examination – delivering on CILEX’s commitment to accessibility while not compromising standards”.
Students will be able to study through CILEX Law School or through a number of approved providers including universities, further education colleges and distance learning organisations.
CILEX chair Professor Chris Bones said: “Not only does the CPQ offer a route to a successful legal career to those with or without a university degree, the targeted support offered by the Foundation will also help further remove barriers for promising future legal professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“As the CPQ gains the regulatory stamp of approval, we look forward to transforming the legal profession, developing the brightest future talent from all backgrounds to make the UK legal sector more efficient, more representative and better serve society.”