First For Midhurst L E

Court First For Midhurst Legal Executive Lawyer

29 May 2008 pr017. 08.2

Jane Elizabeth Smith, a Legal Executive lawyer with the Midhurst law firm, Macdonald Oates Solicitors, has become the first Legal Executive in West Sussex to qualify to represent clients in open court in family law cases.

Her qualification as a Family Law Advocate was made possible under a new training scheme which gives ILEX lawyers Rights of Audience in court for family law cases.

After undertaking the intensive six-day training course she is now able to offer a comprehensive and seamless service to clients, taking their case from initial instruction to the Family Proceedings Courts and through to open Magistrate and County Courts. This includes dealing with committal hearings as well as where those where a party could be sentenced to a term of imprisonment, something ILEX Fellows have not been able to do in the past.

“Originally I elected to attend the ILEX Rights of Audience Course in order to enable me to apply for membership of the Law Society’s Children Panel. However, I would recommend the course to all Legal Executives specialising in family law as the experience is an excellent opportunity to enhance your advocacy skills and knowledge. Certainly the Course inspired me to conduct my own advocacy on many more occasions in the County Courts as well of course, since gaining the qualification, I am now qualified to appear in the Family Proceedings Court, without first having to obtain prior permission from the Magistrates”.

ILEX President, Lesley Graham said, “My heartiest congratulations to Jane, one of the very first Legal Executive Advocates in the country to complete our new and demanding Family Advocacy Proceedings course. I am delighted she will now able to apply her skills in court on behalf of her clients.”

“Rights of Audience are something which ILEX has campaigned long and hard for. The expertise and knowledge of Legal Executives has long been recognised and Rights of Audience is the first of many forthcoming important changes within the legal profession that affect ILEX members, and will enable them to improve their service to clients through the widening of their areas of practice and status.”