Lack of parliamentary time set to delay independent practice rights for legal executives


Parliament: Rehabilitatin of Offenders change approved

There may be a delay in giving the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) the power to grant the rights to conduct reserved probate and conveyancing work, it has emerged.

The orders approving the move had been expected to be laid before Parliament ahead of the summer recess, but it is looking like this timetable will not be met.

Ian Watson, chief executive of CILEx’s regulatory arm, ILEX Professional Standards (IPS), said: “Our probate and conveyancing orders are likely to be considered in the autumn due to the limited parliamentary time available before recess, but we are working with the Ministry of Justice on the development of a timetable and we will confirm once the scheduling has been finalised.”

In the meantime, however, both Houses of Parliament have now approved a change to the list of exemptions from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act that will give IPS the power to ask for details of spent convictions from applicants for the new practice rights.

Fellows of CILEx were already exempt from the Act, meaning they were required to disclose details of spent convictions upon application to Fellowship. However, IPS will be approving probate and conveyancing practitioners who do not have to be Fellows, but must prove their experience and competence to practise.

The order will also apply to those who will be approved managers in firms regulated by IPS. Presented by coalition ministers Lord Faulkes and Jeremy Wright MP in each house, it was fully endorsed by Labour’s justice spokesmen.

The Legal Services Board is also consultating on modifying CILEx’s functions to include establishing compensation arrangements and be granted intervention powers.

IPS chair Alan Kershaw said “This consultation is a procedural step before the order is placed before Parliament, but an important one. IPS and CILEx have fully engaged with the consultation processes to date, and adapted our proposals to reflect the views and recommendations of others, and we look forward to hearing the views of others on these powers that will help us protect consumers.”

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