LSB approves practice rights

LSB recommends Lord Chancellor to give CILEx lawyers further independent practice rights

10 December 2013Alan Kershaw Chair of IPS

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has today announced its approval of ILEX Professional Standards’ (IPS) applications to enable it to authorise members of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) to practise independently in Probate and Conveyancing, paving the way for CILEx members to practise independently in all areas of law.

The decision now goes to the Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling, and for subsequent parliamentary approval, anticipated during the course of 2014.

If approved, members authorised by IPS will be able to practise independently in their chosen specialism, benefitting thousands of law firms and consumers.

IPS Chair Alan Kershaw said: “This is a special day for IPS and CILEx. We have cleared a significant hurdle and now we hope the Lord Chancellor and Parliament will move swiftly to approve these changes, opening the way for CILEx members to run their own businesses. CILEx members are specialists who are trained on the job and regulated to a robust standard. They have already been doing this work for years. IPS’ regulation will continue to develop in line with these changes in a risk-based and outcomes-focused manner, promoting the interests of consumers.”

CILEx President Stephen Gowland welcomed the announcement: “The LSB’s recommendation brings us closer to cutting the red tape that prevents CILEx members from serving the public to the utmost of their abilities. Allowing our experienced lawyers to practise independently in their area of specialism will stimulate the consumer legal services industry, create a more innovative market, and better meet consumer needs.”

Stephen Gowland added: “In order to set up my own firm I had to dual qualify as a solicitor, despite being qualified already through CILEx. When approved, these changes will help create new businesses, offering good value for consumers and serving communities.”

The decision announced today specifically relates to Probate and Conveyancing practice rights, and will allow IPS to regulate entities operating in these areas. Consequent decisions on rule changes for Litigation and Immigration services are expected shortly.

Currently, CILEx members are able to conduct many reserved legal activities only under the ‘supervision’ of an authorised person, most commonly a solicitor.

If approved by the Lord Chancellor and Parliament, IPS will be ready to approve applications for authorisation for both individuals and entities in early 2015.

IPS will apply in due course for CILEx to be able to license alternative business structures managed or owned by non-lawyers. That application, like the present one, will need to be approved by the LSB.

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