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09 July 2012

49th CILEx President calls for independent practice rights

The 49th President of The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), Nick Hanning, says a key priority during his year in office will be securing independent practice rights for Chartered Legal Executives.

Speaking at his inauguration dinner in Bournemouth on Friday (6 July 2012) Mr. Hanning, who is a partner at RWPS Law in Poole, Dorset, declared that the prejudices against vocationally trained lawyers were not welcome in a modern legal sector: “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.”

Mr. Hanning then went on to detail “absurdities” that meant Chartered Legal Executives could not serve their clients in the most efficient and professional way possible. Absurdities that mean a Chartered Legal Executive may 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; or 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; or that a Chartered Legal Executive who is a Commissioner for Oaths cannot certify Land Registry forms or certify a copy of 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.”

ENDS