New chartered legal executives last week became the first legal professionals to recite an oath upon qualification.
The introduction of the oath, which formed part of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives’ (CILEx) annual graduation ceremony in Bedford, coincided with the institute receiving its Royal Charter earlier this year.
CILEx began considering a legal version of the Hippocratic oath more than two years ago, noting that many law societies and bar associations around the world require members to take oaths, while judges, tribunal judges and new QCs already take an oath on appointment.
The new chartered legal executives said: “I promise to discharge diligently my duties and responsibilities as a chartered legal executive. I will protect my independence as a lawyer, uphold the rule of law, and act at all times with integrity. I will justify the confidence and trust that is placed in me by my clients, the courts, the public and by my profession.”
CILEx president Susan Silver said: “Witnessing the reciting of this oath for the first time was truly inspiring. The charter was awarded to us because we have continued to show commitment to making sure the public receive the best quality legal services, and this oath takes that commitment one step further.
“CILEx will continue to take further important steps to ensure we create better opportunities for our members to use their skills for the greater good of legal services. This involves increasing the range of practice rights they can exercise, providing wider training opportunities and championing vocational learning in law.”
Speaking at Monday’s graduation, Lord Phillips of Sudbury said he was proud to be witnessing legal history: “There is a glow of pride here today, and it is well deserved. It’s fantastic that CILEx are the first to recite an Oath. I wish my representative organisation, the Law Society, has the courage to follow suit.”
On Tuesday, June Venters QC, who starter her legal career as a legal executive, addressed the graduates. “I know how difficult it is to combine working and studying and have considerable admiration of all of you. The judiciary and law needs diversity to work and CILEx graduates, you are a shining example of that,” she said.
Some 522 CILEx members graduated as CILEx Fellows in the 2010/11 year and now have the right to call themselves chartered legal executive lawyers.