CILEx Graduation 2015

“You are at the cutting edge” new Chartered Legal Executives told

21 April 2015

The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) has celebrated the achievements of more than 200 Graduate members and Fellows at the 2015 Graduation and Admission Ceremonies.

Held in Bedford, the ceremonies saw new Chartered Legal Executives swear an Oath to “act at all times with integrity” as they were formally admitted into the lawyer profession.

Baroness DeechKeynote speakers included Judge Nicola Davies DBE and Baroness Ruth Deech.

Addressing the graduates, Baroness Deech said: “You in CILEx are at the cutting edge of an ancient and proud profession. You represent social mobility because of your different backgrounds and non-traditional entries into the profession…All of this diversity amounts to the raising of the flag of rebellion to the Lord Chancellor. His cuts might have had the effect of deterring many graduates from taking on family and criminal work, because there is no legal aid and no way to earn a modest living in order to pay off their student debt. But if chartered legal executives continue the progress they have so strikingly made in the last decades, you may be the ones rising to the judiciary and keeping it representative of the population.”

Judge Nicola DaviesJudge Davies encouraged Chartered Legal Executives to put themselves forward for judicial appointments. She said: “I would like to offer my thanks to CILEx for the work they have done in supporting the judiciary in our many events, and in our quest for greater diversity. CILEx has been a real force for good, and I thank them.”

78 new Chartered Legal Executives were admitted as Fellows of the Institute, and 153 Graduate members also celebrated completing CILEx’s final academic stage which is set and assessed at honours degree level. The scrolls were handed out by the Institute’s president, Frances Edwards, who said: “Yours is a path trodden by the thousands of Chartered Legal Executives who have preceded you. It takes courage and commitment, and your reward is knowing that you are experienced lawyers from the off.”

Frances Edwards Alan KershawAmong those attending the ceremonies was Fay Lynch, who qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive. She said: “Today has been absolutely amazing, and the support has been wonderful. Studying was hard for me as my mum had cancer twice, but studying by distance learning enabled me to achieve the qualification and continue to support her.”

Also at the ceremony, a special commendation was awarded to Alan Kershaw who has served as chair of CILEx Regulation since its establishment in 2008. Alan, whose term of office concludes at the end of May, was surprised with the award given in recognition of his leadership in securing additional practice rights for CILEx members. Addressing the graduates, he said: “The option of independent practice is now yours, and yours for the taking. You are the specialist lawyers. ”


Baroness Ruth Deech is a crossbench peer in the House of Lords, and was until recently chair of the Bar Standards Board (BSB) responsible for regulating barristers. Previously she has been a governor of the BBC, a former chair of the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, and the first Independent Adjudicator of Higher Education.

Dame Nicola Davies is a High Court Judge. As a practising barrister she specialised in the area of medical law and became a QC in 1992. In 2010 Dame Nicola was appointed to sit in the Queens Bench Division of the High Court. She is presently a Presiding Judge of the Wales Circuit and a Senior Liaison Judge for Diversity.

Alan Kershaw was appointed in June 2008 as the first chair of CILEx Regulation (then ILEX Professional Standards.) Alan is a specialist in professional regulation and has a long record of achievement. He was the first chief executive of the Council for the Registration of Forensic Practitioners from 1999 to 2007. Prior to that, he had spent 16 years working for the General Medical Council, his final three years as director of education and standards. He also holds board appointments on a number of other professional standards setting bodies.

Frances Edwards FCILEx is CILEx’s President. She joined CILEx in 1992, finishing her exams in 1998 and qualified as a Fellow in 2000. Frances has been a CILEx Council Member for Wales since July 2008. She left school aged 16 with 6 O-levels but never wanted to go to university. Her first job was as a secretary in a solicitors’ office in Newport. Following a career break to raise her two children; daughter Sian and son Alun, she returned to work and spent the next 6 years studying at home to become a Chartered Legal Executive with ILEX Tutorial College, now CILEx Law School.

Frances is currently employed by Caswell Jones Solicitors in Caerphilly where she has worked since 1995 as a member of the Family Team. She was one of the founder members of the CILEx South Wales Branch when it was re-launched in 2004, becoming treasurer. She was chair of the branch in 2005 and still remains actively involved. Frances was the first Chartered Legal Executive to be appointed president of a local Law Society when appointed president of Rhymney Valley Law Society in 2008/09.