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
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
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