CILEx unveils radical governance reform

CILEx unveils radical governance reform

21 February 2017

The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) is to separate out its duties to the public interest, the profession and independent regulation with a new governance structure that means it is prepared should the government choose to make legal regulators entirely independent.

The reforms are driven primarily by a desire to embed best practice within the organisation and ensure its operation is transparent and promotes good decision making.

Under the structure approved by CILEx’s existing governing council, there would be a group board at the apex, with an independent chair, whose overarching duty would be to the public interest. It would be charged also with protecting CILEx’s Royal Charter and its reputation.

Underneath the group board would be the boards of each CILEx company: CILEx Professional, dedicated to promoting the profession’s interests; CILEx Law School, delivering legal education; and Group Services, providing business infrastructure to all parts of the group. CILEx Regulation will continue to have its own independent board. 

The CILEx Professional board will be smaller than the current 23-member council, be appointed rather than elected, and include lay members. It will be chaired by the president, who will remain the public figurehead for Chartered Legal Executives and also have a seat on the group board. 

There are no changes proposed to CILEx Regulation, but the reforms recognise that the government is considering the future relationship between legal regulators and professional bodies. If separation goes ahead, CILEx would be able to adapt easily.

Having CILEx Law School as another group company ensures separation between this leading training body and the organisation (CILEx) that actually awards the qualification to become a chartered legal executive.

There will be a programme of engagement with members to explain and discuss what is happening, alongside a consultation in the summer on technical changes needed to implement the reforms.

CILEx President Martin Callan says: “While the post-Clementi governance regime has worked for CILEx, we must recognise the need to evolve – the new structure will provide clearer lines between the public interest and those primarily charged with representing the profession. We are confident these changes will provide greater confidence in our decision-making and support our future strategy.”

Linda Ford, chief operating officer of CILEx, explains: “The newly constituted CILEx Professional board will be free to concentrate on the profession’s interests, allowing us to deliver a better and more focused service for our members.

“CILEx Regulation has always had operational independence, but there is strong support from those overseeing the profession – such as the Competition and Markets Authority and Legal Services Board – for it, and other such regulators, to have greater structural independence too.

“Though this is not the main purpose of the governance reform, if the government chooses to make it happen, then our new structure means that we will be prepared.”