CILEx – work together on LETR

CILEx President calls for Legal bodies to work together on LETR

28 June 2013

Nick Hanning, President of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives last night called for the legal professions to work together on the outcomes of the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR).

Speaking at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the CILEx London Branch, he said: “I say we can work together so let’s prove it. CILEx would like to start the ball rolling by proposing a Conference later this year to debate – together – the recommendations and to work – together – to determine how best to take them forward – together. I know all the professions and their regulators will join us.”

Maura McGowan QC, Chair of the Bar Council, was the first to accept the offer.

Nick Hanning used his speech to give his reflections on the LETR and the Government’s Skills Agenda. He particularly struck a note of caution on Apprenticeships: “Many firms across the country refer to “taking on Apprentices”, when they actually mean recruiting from school leavers and offering them training via CILEx into a legal role in their firm. … I hope that businesses will not make the mistake of thinking that ‘apprentices’ equals ‘cheap and cheerful labour’ but understand the importance of there being an effective and accessible progression route.”

He continued: “As well as delivering a qualification in its own right, there must be progression routes within the apprenticeship frameworks, as well as transferability in, out and across professions within the sector. … I believe there is a real danger here. If the cost of going to university becomes such that only the wealthy attend, and everyone else has to hunt around for CILEx, or an apprenticeship, or something else, a hierarchy of practitioners will quickly develop.”

Nick Hanning also reaffirmed his position on the regulation of paralegals, saying:

“What is essential is that businesses in some manner quality assure their staff, particularly when a legal business may be employing tens if not hundreds of non-lawyers to undertake legal work, all supposedly under the supervision of a small number of lawyers.”

He continued: “CILEx has always had paralegal members. The majority of our members are paralegals. CILEx is, in effect, the largest paralegal membership and regulatory organisation in the UK. …The LETR recommends a single voluntary recognition scheme… I have some difficulties with this recommendation. It has all the hallmarks of an expensive regime without the guaranteed quality assurance the public would expect from such a scheme. It also overlooks the 50 year history of CILEX “paralegals”, and that measures of competence and knowledge already exist.”

He also paid tribute to the work of ILEX Professional Standards, the regulatory body of CILEx members, for their new outcomes-focussed approach: “CPD is about identifying your own development needs, tackling those, saying how they were tackled and reflecting on lessons learned. I know I will find the change hard to begin with; but I recognise its value in quality assuring our members’ continuing competence and am very proud that IPS and CILEx are leading the way in the new approach.”

Nick Hanning addressed the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of the London Branch of CILEx on Thursday 27 June 2013.

Read the full transcript of the speech here.