New CILEx president: give us independent practice rights

Hanning: Royal Charter is not the end of the road

The absence of independent practice rights for chartered legal executives has created a series of “absurdities” and there is no sensible reason to deny those rights, the incoming president of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) has claimed.

Speaking at his inauguration last week, Nick Hanning – a partner at Poole firm RWPS Law – said securing independent practice rights will be a key priority for his year.

ILEX Professional Standards, CILEx’s regulatory arm, is planning to apply to the Legal Services Board for conveyancing, probate and litigation rights for chartered legal executives later this year. An application to become an alternative business structure licensing authority would then follow at some point.

“If chartered legal executives are going to be able to have the opportunity to serve the public interest on their own terms and on an equal footing with solicitors, barristers, licensed conveyancers and other lawyers they can only do so with the benefit of independent practice rights,” he said.

He detailed “absurdities” that meant a chartered legal executive can sit as a judge, but even as a qualified advocate, cannot appear in that same court unless employed by or in partnership with a solicitor; that a chartered legal executive who may be handling high-volume or highly complex property transactions cannot charge a fee for that work unless employed by or in partnership with a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer; and that a chartered legal executive who is a Commissioner for Oaths cannot certify Land Registry forms or witness a lasting power of attorney.

He concluded: “I am sure I also do not have to remind anybody here that in terms of day one outcomes, a newly qualified chartered legal executive is more experienced and has greater knowledge in their specialist area than a newly qualified solicitor.

“The fact that CILEx excludes no one who has the skill and the determination to succeed and continues to produce highly competent professional lawyers who are dedicated to working in the public interest is precisely why we were awarded the Royal Charter, but the Royal Charter is not the end of the road and there should be no sensible objection to chartered legal executives having independent practice rights.”

Mr Hanning also highlighted CILEx itself as “unique in its training and regulation of legal professionals”. He explained: “We are the only approved regulator which trains, assesses competence and imposes professional obligations on those working at every level within the profession.

“Starting with legal secretarial courses, we provide training and membership for paralegals, apprentices, lawyers, advocates and judges. No other legal profession does that.”



    Readers Comments

  • Manchan Wong says:

    As a practising ILEX conveyancer, I concur absolutely and totally with all that Nick Hanning has said so eloquently in his speech.
    In fact, prior to HMLR recent changes in those regulations we were quite competently able to deal
    with the Land Registry and such documentation wihout any problems. So, inter alia, ILEX now seeks to have such rights restored to us as conveyancing practitioners. One wonders the reasons why the recent regulations had (without good reason) removed our rights to deal and lodge documents at HMLR. Was there not a rule “that rights once granted cannot, without just cause, be removed. Since the past is the past, we must all look forward to the future of acquiring better results- of soon receiving our new Independent Practising Rights certificates from CILEX in conformity with the competition rules as CLC was able to obtain in order to practice on their own.
    Congratulations to ouyr New President on his presidency and on his good works, past present and future .

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