IPS - CILEx Members Code of Conduct
Membership of CILEx carries both privileges and
responsibilities. It requires you to:
- develop and use your professional knowledge and skills for the
benefit of those who use your professional services.
- maintain good professional relationships with others.
- act in a way that promotes confidence and trust in the legal
This Code of Conduct has been drawn up by IPS, the regulatory
body for CILEx members. It sets out the principles you must follow
as an CILEx member. It is our core guidance on the conduct,
practice and professional performance expected of you.
The following nine principles are intended to guide and support
you in the work you do and the decisions you make. They also inform
the general public of the standards of behaviour that can be
expected of CILEx members: the public interest must be at the
You must at all times ensure public confidence in you and your
profession. You must also ensure that you avoid engaging in action
unbefitting to CILEx or likely to bring disrepute upon you or
These are the nine principles. You must:
- Uphold the rule of law and the impartial administration of
- Maintain high standards of professional and personal
- Behave with honesty and integrity
- Comply with the CILEx and IPS rules and bye-laws
- Act in the best interests of your client
- Treat everyone equally and fairly
- Ensure your independence is not compromised
- Respect confidentiality and trust
- Act within your competence
These principles, and the supporting explanations below,
encapsulate what it means to be a member of CILEx. Making this part
of your professional life will help you maintain your
professionalism and will underpin public confidence in you and your
Status of the Code of Conduct
You must comply with this Code wherever it applies to you. Your
professional and personal conduct will be judged against it, and a
breach may lead to action under the Investigation, Disciplinary and
Appeal Rules. Compliance with the Code will be taken into account
in considering information which raises a question about a member.
The supporting explanations are not however exhaustive and are not
limited solely to the matters mentioned in the Code.
Uphold the rule of law and the impartial administration of
You must uphold the constitutional principle of the rule of law.
You must act lawfully and must not knowingly breach the law. You
must be familiar with and comply with the law as it applies to
You have a duty to uphold the impartial administration of
justice. You also have a duty to act in the best interests of your
client. However, your primary and overriding duty is to the courts.
You must not knowingly allow the court to be misled. You must obey
court orders and do nothing which would place you in contempt of
Maintain high standards of professional and personal
High standards are expected of you in both your professional and
personal life. You must not engage in any conduct that could affect
or undermine the confidence placed in you and your profession by
your client, other members of the legal profession and the
Personal conduct that may affect or undermine the confidence
placed in you includes criminal convictions, breaches of the law,
financial misconduct, dishonesty and any other behaviour deemed by
IPS to bring disrepute upon yourself or CILEx.
Behave with honesty and integrity
You must be honest in all your dealings. You must maintain your
integrity and uphold the respect and confidence placed in you and
your profession by your client, the courts, the public, colleagues,
employers and others. You must not wilfully mislead your client or
anyone else you deal with.
You must deal honestly in financial matters, particularly with
regard to transactions affecting office and client accounts and
money which belongs to others.
Comply with the CILEx and IPS rules and bye-laws
You must comply with all the CILEx and IPS rules and bye-laws
which apply to you. These include the Memorandum and Articles of
Association, membership and examination bye-laws, rules and
regulations, codes of conduct and the complaints handling rules.
You must ensure that you are familiar with the rules and bye-laws
relevant to you and keep your knowledge of them up to date. You
must also co-operate with CILEx and IPS.
You must not register in a grade of membership to which you do
not belong. You must not claim to be a non-practising member when
you do not meet the criteria for that grade of membership.
in the best interests of your client
Except where they conflict with your duty to the court, your
client's interests are paramount and you must act in their best
interests. The work you undertake for your client must always be to
a proper standard.
You must provide clear advice to your client and act on their
instructions except when to do so would involve a breach of the
You must have in place good client care and communication
procedures. You must provide clear and accurate information and
advice. You must ensure your client understands your professional
status, advise them openly and honestly and keep them up to date
with the information they need about their case or transaction. You
must inform them fully and honestly about details of costs and
You must keep contemporaneous records of matters such as
communications with clients, professional colleagues and
You must maintain proper standards of work and keep accurate
everyone equally and fairly
You must treat everyone equally and fairly regardless of their
age, gender, disability, race, colour, ethnic or national origin,
sexual orientation, marital or family status, religion, belief or
perceived social status. You owe this duty to clients, colleagues,
employers, third parties including the other party in a
transaction, and anyone else with whom you may have dealings.
Ensure your independence is not compromised
You must ensure that your independence is not compromised and
that you remain impartial in all your dealings. Independence may be
compromised in a variety of ways, including conflicts with a
client, external pressure and financial interest in a client's
matter. Members working in a business structure that includes a
range of professions need to be particularly aware of the conflicts
that could arise.
You must not act where there is a conflict of interest or a
significant risk that a conflict may arise. This can include
- you and a client
- two or more clients for whom you act
- a client and your employer or colleagues
a client and the commercial, financial or political interests of
There are some instances where you may act in a situation where
a conflict would otherwise arise – for example, where two or more
clients agree in writing to your acting for each of them and you
can separate the duties you owe to each.
You should act for a client only where you are satisfied that
there is no risk that they are providing instructions under duress
or undue influence. You must also confirm with your client
instructions given by a third party to ensure they are your
client's own instructions.
You must ensure that no financial arrangements you have in place
can affect the independence of your advice or your ability to act
impartially. This includes any introduction and referral
arrangements you have in place.
Respect confidentiality and trust
You must respect the trust placed in you and your profession by
your client, the public, employers and colleagues. You must act
with probity, honesty and trustworthiness and must not engage in
any conduct that may undermine that confidence or trust.
You must keep the affairs of your client confidential. You may
disclose information only to those entitled to receive it or to
whom you have been authorised to disclose it. You must use
information only for the purpose it was intended.
In certain rare circumstances the law or other provisions may
require or authorise you to make disclosures, such as to prevent
the commission of a serious criminal offence.
You have a duty to ensure the safety and security of electronic
and paper documents in your possession. They must be stored safely
and disclosed only to those entitled to receive them.
within your competence
You must act only on matters that are within your competence.
These are cases or transactions where you have the knowledge,
skills and experience to undertake the work. If you are not
competent to act you must decline to do so.
It is your personal responsibility to keep your professional
skills and knowledge up to date by undertaking relevant training
and complying with our Continuing Professional Development
You must not act for a client in an area of law where you have
insufficient knowledge or experience. Neither may you act in a
matter where you do not have the right to act, for example, where
you are not authorised to provide legal services. This does not
prevent you from working in a structured environment on aspects of
the law where you are developing your knowledge and skills.
You must not hold yourself out as having a qualification that
you do not. This includes holding yourself out as a Chartered Legal
Executive when you have not qualified as a Fellow of CILEx.
You must ensure you properly supervise tasks that you have
delegated to others, recognising that you remain accountable for
work which you have delegated to someone else.
If you are also regulated by or a member of another professional
organisation, as well as IPS, you must also comply with Codes of
Conduct, rules and regulations, however described, which apply to
Further help and guidance
If you are unsure about how this Code applies to you contact
IPS on 01234 845770 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively visit the