What can I sign?

Can a Chartered Legal Executive sign Settlement Agreements?

The Compromise Agreements Order (Description of person) Order 2004 made provision for a (then) Legal Executive to give advice on Compromise Agreements under the Acts specified in the Order (now under the Equality Act 2010) if employed in a solicitors practice and supervised by a solicitor.

However, the Compromise Agreements Order (Description of person) Order 2004 (SI 2004/2515) revoked the condition that Fellows be supervised by solicitors when advising on Compromise Agreements. Fellows still have to be employed in a solicitors practice. This condition was reinforced by The Compromise Agreements Order (Description of person) Order 2005 which states that a Fellow must be employed by a solicitors practice.

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (‘the 2013 Act’) substituted reference to ‘Compromise’ Agreements with Settlement Agreements. There were no other changes within the 2013 Act which which had any impact on who can advise on Settlement Agreements. 

The fact that a Chartered Legal Executive is unable to advise on Settlement Agreements unless they are employed in a solicitors practice, has some exceptions, which are:

  • Settlement agreements made under section 58(5)(c) of the Pensions Act 2008 (The Compromise Agreements (Automatic Enrolment) (Description of Person) Order 2012 (SI 2012/212);
  • Fellows who are managers of Legal Disciplinary Partnerships, Legal Practices or Alternative Business Structures (ABS) are not prevented from advising on Settlement Agreements by virtue of not being an ’employee’ as a result of The Legal Services Act 2007 (Consequential Amendments) Order 2009 (SI 2009/3348); and
  • Authorised persons under the Legal Services Act 2007 in relation to the reserved legal activities of a rights of audience or litigation (s203(4)(a) of the Employment Rights Act 1996. Therefore Chartered Legal Executive Advocates, and Fellows who successfully obtain litigation rights would be a ‘relevant independent adviser’ for the purposes of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ss203(3A)(a) and 203(4)(a).

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