What Chartered Legal Executive Lawyers Do
Not all lawyers are solicitors or barristers. Under the Legal
Services Act 2007 (hereinafter the 2007 Act), for example,
Chartered Legal Executive lawyers are ‘authorised persons’
undertaking ‘reserved legal activities’, alongside solicitors and
barristers. A Chartered Legal Executive lawyer specialises in a
particular area of law, and will have been trained to the same
standard as a solicitor in that area.
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
As a general rule, a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer is able to
undertake all work that may be undertaken by a solicitor under the
supervision of the solicitor (also known as a principal) In this
sense, the work of a Chartered Legal Executive is almost
indistinguishable from the work of a solicitor.
As yet, Chartered Legal Executive do not generally have
independent practice rights, but under the 2007 Act, Legal
Executive lawyers are able to become partners or managers in Legal
Disciplinary Practices (firms of different lawyers with 25%
Looking ahead, when the relevant sections of the 2007 Act come
into force, Chartered Legal Executives will be able to become
partners or managers in Alternative Business Structures (firms with
external ownership and investment) and set up their own
Chartered Legal Executives are now also eligible to apply
for prescribed judicial posts and become Chairs of Tribunals. These
are exciting times.
Rights of Audience
The main exception to the general rule 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, the general rule is now subject to additional rights
that the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives can award
Chartered Legal Executive 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. CILEx is then able to award the rights of
audience under the prescribed 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
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. This is a
free standing right under the Statutory Instrument 1995
Chartered Legal Executives can also act as claims managers under
the Compensation Act if regulated by CILEx, and 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
Legal Executives of three years’ good standing can sign client
account cheques drawn on their principals’ client account
(Solicitors Account Rules 1991).
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. Chartered Legal
Executives are categorised as conveyancers for certain purposes
under the Land Registration Rules and in most cases may sign
transfer deeds on behalf of their employers in conveyancing
Find out about the powers and duties of
Chartered Legal Executive lawyers.