History of CILEX

History of CILEX

In 1892 there is the first recorded meeting of some 291 managing clerks at The Girdlers Hall in the City of London. Managing Clerks featured in Victorian and Edwardian literature. Charles Dickens was a Solicitor's Clerk (he drew on his experience for characters in his novels) and a solicitor's managing clerk is featured in Galsworthy's Justice).

In 1928 managing clerks felt the time had come to regulate their branch of the legal profession and to create a proper career structure for themselves. This resulted in The Solicitors Managing Clerks Association being incorporated as a Company.

After the Second World War there was a hiatus in the legal profession due to the lack of training of Solicitors during the war years. This led to many Admitted Managing Clerks being taken into partnership in their firms, but it also resulted in people coming into the profession with little legal knowledge or experience to carry out the work of a lawyer. Both the Association, Law Society and Bar Council were powerless to stop unsuitable (ie inexperienced) people calling themselves Managing Clerks.

As a result, after consultation between the Council of the Association and the Law Society, it was decided that the problem should be resolved by creating a new form of lawyer known as a "Legal Executive”. The Institute of Legal Executives was created on 1st January 1963 with the full support of the Law Society, the Bar Council and the Judiciary. From this comparatively simple beginning the Institute has grown so that in its 45th (or 80th or 116th) year it is now a major legal association serving a profession of around 20,000 members.

The Institute has come a long way and has no intention of resting on its laurels. Its motto is "Progressus per Peritiam" which translates as Advancement through Knowledge. Our Coat of Arms has a wavy blue Chevron on the shield alluding to the river bend – in Celtic Cembes from which Kemp in the name Kempston is derived. The swords of Justice are inflamed in allusion to the torch of knowledge, the furtherance of both justice and knowledge being inherent in the principles of the Institute. The sword of Justice is shown in the crest which includes two branches of holly CILEX AQUIFOLIUM an allusion to the abbreviation of the Institute's official title. Our Motto and Coat of Arms represent our aims for both the present and the future.

As a professional body CILEX is respected and recognised today as one of the main three branches of the legal profession on equal footing with the Law Society and the Bar Council. It is a full member of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and became a Chartered body in 2012.

Joyce Arram FCILEX, FRSA 
Honorary Vice President 1935-2018