First North Somerset Advocate

First North Somerset Legal Executive Advocate Takes Centre Stage

12 June 2008 pr011.08.11

Heidi- Marie Waddon, a Legal Executive lawyer with Bridgwater law firm, Ash Clifford, has become one of the first Legal Executives in England & Wales to be trained as a defence Legal Executive Advocate, and is now preparing to defend clients in court.

As a Legal Executive Advocate she will be able to offer a seamless service to clients, taking their case right through to the magistrates court and, in the case of appeal and bail applications, the Crown Court without the need to instruct a solicitor, something ILEX Fellows have not been able to do in the past.

“I feel very honoured to be one of the first in the country to qualify as a Legal Executive Advocate,” said Heidi. “I welcome the challenge to broaden my horizons in criminal practice.

“The course and the written and advocacy assessments were extremely tough but excellently run by Altior. I am grateful to them and to ILEX for the support and assistance they gave me throughout.

“I hope other Fellows make the most of this opportunity and receive the same backing and support from their firms as I did from Ash Clifford.”

“I am delighted that Heidi is one of the first Legal Executive Advocates to complete the training course and is now ready to hone her skills in court,” said ILEX President, Lesley Graham. ” And I am sure she will be the first of many.”

“Extended Advocacy rights 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 broaden their areas of practice and status.”

Prior to enrolling onto a course, Fellows and Members have to apply to ILEX for a Certificate of Eligibility which requires them to show that they have the necessary level of legal knowledge and experience before they can undertake the intensive six-day course.

In October 2007, Altior Training, based in Cardiff, became the first ILEX accredited organisation to deliver training courses and assessments to members enrolled under the revised ILEX Advocacy Qualification Scheme. Over 400 ILEX Fellows and Members have already expressed an interest in obtaining rights of audience and in the training to become advocates.