What rights of audience do I have as a member of CILEx?
As a member of CILEx, you do not automatically have a right of audience, that is to say that you are not an ‘authorised person’ within the definition of the Legal Services Act 2007 (‘the 2007 Act’), for the reserved legal activity of exercising a right of audience.
However, the 2007 Act allows someone who is not authorised for a reserved legal activity, undertake in the limited instances where they are exempt.
Schedule 3, paragraph 1(7) of the 2007 Act contains a provision that, whilst it is not specific to our members, applies to any person employed to assist in the conduct of litigation and acting under the supervision of an authorised person who can conduct litigation. This enables such an employee to appear in chambers hearings only in the county court and High Court.
Following the creation of the single Family Court, these rights have subsequently been extended by the Crime and Courts Act 2013 (Schedule 10, Part 2, Paragraph 98(1)) to apply in the Family Court (save for before a single Lay Magistrate or bench of Lay Magistrates).
The Courts also have discretion to allow any person a right of audience before it in a particular set of proceedings, in accordance with Schedule 3, paragraph 1(2) of the 2007 Act.
Graduate Members and Fellows can apply to undertake the advocacy scheme to obtain extended rights of audience, and become Chartered Legal Executive Advocates. These rights can only be exercised once you are a Fellow. These are essentially the same as those a solicitor has. Members cannot obtain the higher rights of audience available to solicitors and barristers. You can see further details of the advocacy qualification here. There is also the option to obtain litigation practice rights together with the advocacy qualification, which means you would be an authorised person for the conduct of litigation and the exercise of a right of audience. You can find more information about the application process for these practice rights here.