Can a Chartered Legal Executive engage in industrial action?
The following information relates to members who may be thinking of taking part in lawful industrial action. CILEx members wishing to take part in industrial action should be mindful of their responsibilities to their clients and the courts, as well as to their employers.
If an employer made a complaint to CILEx Regulation, the regulatory body for CILEx members, that a member had breached the Code by striking, CILEx Regulation would have to consider the complaint. Consequently, there is currently no precedent to suggest what approach a conduct panel would take.
CILEx members need to consider the following:
- The industrial action must be lawful and as a CILEx member you must ensure that you comply with procedures for notification; and
- If you work in the court system, CILEx members have a duty to the court and a duty to act in the best interests of their client (which in this case it could be argued is the CILEx member’s employer).
Taking industrial action is an exercise of a lawful right. A conduct panel would find it difficult to justify disciplinary action against a member if the above points are complied with, and there are no other issues involved.
For those members working in the court system, they may want to think whether they can or should make some notification to the court that they will not be attending for a case.
If a CILEx member belongs to a union they may be able to provide further guidance and or advice.
If you are employed in a firm regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (‘SRA’) you will also need to consider your requirement to comply with the SRA Code of Conduct.
One of the key considerations will be to keep anyone who may be affected by you taking action, fully informed. Taking the above into account should ensure minimum disruption to clients and the court.
The decision of whether or not to join in with any such action will be very much for you having regard to the above and the interests of the firm, court and client.
If a CILEx member belongs to a union it may be able to provide further guidance and or advice.
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