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 and barristers.
Fully qualified and experienced Chartered Legal Executive
lawyers are able to undertake many of the legal activities 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.
Chartered Legal Executive lawyers must adhere to a code of
conduct and, like solicitors, 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 all 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 generally be supervised by an 'authorised person' (as
defined under the Act, often a solicitor), 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 Disciplinary Practices (firms
of different lawyers with 25% non-lawyer managers) and in
Alternative Business Structures (firms with external ownership and
investment) and set up their own practices.
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
The main 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 courts and magistrates’ courts. However,
under the County Court (Rights of Audience) Direction 1978 rights
of audience were extended to include the following:
(i) certain unopposed applications in the County Court;
(ii) An application for judgment by consent.
In addition to the above rights, a Chartered Legal
Executive Lawyer 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.
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
CILEx is a designated professional body for the purposes of
regulating immigration advisors. As such, CILEx can authorise
relevant members who are on the immigration register to undertake
immigration and asylum services.
Chartered Legal Executives can also give advice on compromise
agreements. A compromise 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.
As a matter of completeness, 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.
Find out about the powers and duties of
Chartered Legal Executive lawyers.
The Legal Choices website is aimed at consumers. It has
been put together by the legal regulators and is designed to help
members of the public in dealing with lawyers.
Legal Choices has two main aims:
- to help equip people with the information they might need to
make good choices about lawyers and legal services, and
- to give people more ways to get their views heard and play a
stronger role in the work of legal regulators.
Access to the Legal Choices website can be found here.