What Chartered Legal Executive Lawyers Do
A Chartered Legal Executive lawyer specialises in a
particular area of law, and has trained to the same standard as a
solicitor in that area.
Not all lawyers are solicitors or barristers. Under the Legal
Services Act 2007 (the 2007 Act) Chartered Legal Executive lawyers
are authorised persons undertaking reserved legal activities alongside, for example, solicitors, barristers and licensed conveyancers.
Fully qualified and experienced Chartered Legal Executive
lawyers are able to undertake much of the work that
solicitors do. For example, they will have their own clients (with
full conduct of cases) and they can undertake representation in
court where appropriate (see below for more information on rights of audience).
Chartered Legal Executive lawyers must adhere to a code of
conduct and are required to continue training
throughout their careers in order to keep themselves abreast of the
latest developments in the law.
The role of a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer
The work of a Chartered Legal Executive is almost
indistinguishable from the work of a solicitor.
As a general rule, a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer is able to
undertake the same work that may be undertaken by a solicitor,
with some conditions:
- If the area of practice is regulated, then they must satisfy
the requirements of the relevant regulator.
- If the activity is reserved under the 2007 Act, then they
should be supervised by an authorised person (as
defined under the Act), or satisfy one of the
Currently, Chartered Legal Executives are able to independently
administer oaths, but are not able to independently offer other
reserved legal activities.
Under the 2007 Act, Chartered Legal Executives are able to
become partners or managers in legal practices and in
Alternative Business Structures (firms with external and non legal ownership and
investment) and set up their own practices subject to appropriate practice rights.
Chartered Legal Executives are eligible to apply for many
judicial posts and become Chairs of Tribunals.
They are also able to apply for appointment as a Coroner, and
can stand for the Judicial Appointments Commissioner posts reserved
for legal professionals.
Rights of Audience
One exception to the general rule (above) that a
Chartered Legal Executive under supervision can undertake all
work that a solicitor can do, is the right to appear in open court
in the High Court, County Court and Magistrates’ Court. However,
under the County Court (Rights of Audience) Direction 1978 rights
of audience extend to include the following:
(i) certain unopposed applications in the County Court;
(ii) An application for judgment by consent.
In addition to the above, a Chartered Legal
Executive may appear in County Court arbitrations and before
tribunals at the discretion of the court. This is under the general
discretionary power of the court or tribunal. For more information around the exemptions see this FAQ.
Chartered Legal Executives employed by Local Authorities or Housing Management Organisations (exercising Local Authority Housing functions) can also exercise certain rights of audience in the magistrates’ courts and county courts acting on behalf of their local authority or housing management employer along with other employees.
However, CILEx can award additional advocacy rights to
Chartered Legal Executives who have completed the prescribed
rights of audience qualification. A
Chartered Legal Executive who has successfully completed and passed
the advocacy skills course and evidence test may apply to CILEx for
the relevant rights of audience certificate.
The granting of the above rights is subject to
Chartered Legal Executives being employed in solicitors or other
litigators practice and those that have fully paid subscriptions
for membership purposes.
Commissioner of Oaths
In English law, a Commissioner of Oaths is a person appointed by
the Lord Chancellor with power to administer oaths or take
affidavits. All Chartered Legal Executives have these powers
but must not use them in proceedings in which they are acting for
any of the parties or in which they have an interest.
Chartered Legal Executives may be able to act as
claims managers under the Compensation Act if regulated by
Chartered Legal Executives can also give advice on settlement agreements. A settlement agreement is a legally binding agreement
usually between an employee and employer when the parties want to
set out the terms and conditions reached when a contract of
employment is to be terminated or a dispute is to be resolved. Such
an agreement can be used, for example in redundancy, by mutual
agreement, dismissal, or to settle an Employment Tribunal case. More information about settlement agreements can be found here.