New Fellow rights out

IPS begins authorising CILEx Fellows for new extra rights in Litigation and Immigration

Alan Kershaw29 September 2014

ILEX Professional Standards (IPS), the independent regulator of members of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), has today opened applications for CILEx Fellows wishing to gain practice rights in immigration and litigation.

Chartered Legal Executives will be able to seek authorisation to conduct litigation with associated advocacy rights in criminal, civil or family fields, or provide immigration services, without supervision by an authorised person such as a solicitor.

Alan Kershaw, chair of IPS, said: “We are excited that we are now in a position to authorise Chartered Legal Executives to practise independently in these two areas of the law. I have every confidence that many CILEx members will readily demonstrate competence to our high standards and we look forward to issuing the first certificates. Unlike other lawyers, CILEx members do not get these rights automatically on qualifying, but must prove they have the knowledge, skills and experience to do the job. This protects consumers and gives them confidence in the specialist expertise Chartered Legal Executive lawyers have. Many of them have already done this work for many years, to the satisfaction of their clients, and will I am sure welcome the opportunity to practise in their own names rather than as someone else’s employee.”

The new rights are open to Fellows of CILEx, who once approved will be able to call themselves Chartered Legal Executive Litigators and Advocates, or Chartered Legal Executive Immigration Practitioners.

Fellows are able to download application forms and guidance notes for Litigation and Immigration practice rights from the IPS website.

Practice rights in conveyancing and probate are awaiting approval from the House of Lords, having already been approved by MPs in early September. Applications will be open to other practitioners providing conveyancing and probate services who wish to be regulated by IPS, in addition to CILEx’s own Fellows.

Later this year Parliament will also debate giving IPS powers to protect consumers when they begin regulating businesses in the new year. These include the ability to intervene in failing firms, and to establish a compensation fund. Practitioners looking to set up their own businesses to provide these services will need to wait until early 2015, by when it is expected that Parliament will have approved these consumer protection arrangements.

CILEx was named as a designated professional body for immigration practice in 1999, and IPS has authorised litigators since becoming the regulator for Associate Prosecutors in the Crown Prosecution Service in May 2011. Earlier this year, the Legal Services Board (LSB) approved IPS’s new schemes for authorising practitioners in these areas.

In keeping with its focus on specialist lawyers, IPS will authorise members who can prove knowledge, skills and experience in immigration practice, or particular areas of litigation; civil, family or criminal.

• Knowledge – Proved by qualifications at Level 6 or equivalent, or through submitting 5 portfolios that demonstrate equivalent knowledge, including legal research and client care.
• Skills – Proved by submitting log books that evidence each required outcome.
• Experience – Externally assessed portfolios detailing three cases the applicant has dealt with within the last two years.


Photograph: Alan Kershaw, IPS Chair