Chartered Legal Executives
Chartered Legal Executives and CILEx Practitioners are lawyers who carry out legal work in a similar way to solicitors. Chartered Legal Executives are also referred to as Fellows. They are lawyers who have carried out legal work in a legal firm or department usually for a number of years and for at least 3 years. They have taken degree level exams and achieved the highest level of membership of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx).
What type of work can a Chartered Legal Executive do?
Many Chartered Legal Executives work alongside solicitors or CILEx Practitioners in law firms or legal departments. Chartered Legal Executives can also be found working in legal teams in other organisations. The law says that some types of legal work can only be carried out by people who are authorised (have special permission) to do that work. Chartered Legal Executives are able to carry out these types of legal work whilst working with the supervision of an authorised person. Some Chartered Legal Executives run their own law firms carrying out legal work which does not require special permission. The most common areas of law in which Chartered Legal Executives work are:
- conveyancing - the legal side of buying and selling property, dealing with leases or landlord and tenancy matters;
- family - advising on divorce and matters affecting children and money;
- crime - defending and prosecuting people accused of crimes;
- company and business law - advising on legislation that affects clients’ businesses such as tax, contract and employment law;
- litigation - advising clients who are in dispute with someone else;
- probate - dealing with wills, trusts and inheritance tax and administering estates; and
- personal injury - handling accident claims.
Chartered Legal Executive may also administer oaths. Some Chartered Legal Executives are able to represent people in court and others gain an additional qualification so that they can represent people before a Judge or at a tribunal.
CILEx Practitioners are lawyers who have gained special permission (known as a practice right) to carry out legal work in a particular area of law in their own name. CILEx Practitioners gain the qualification by proving that they have the right knowledge and skills needed to do the work. CILEx Practitioners have gained practice rights in one or more of the following areas of law:
- advocacy – representing clients in court
- civil or family litigation – advising someone who is in dispute with another person or their spouse
- immigration – advising clients who come from other countries
- conveyancing - the legal side of buying and selling property, dealing with leases or landlord and tenancy matters; and
- probate - dealing with wills, trusts and inheritance tax and administering estates. CILEx Practitioners in conveyancing or probate do not have to be Chartered Legal Executives or members of CILEx.
When you first meet with your lawyer they will be happy to explain to you what legal work they can carry out for you.
How can I tell if a Chartered Legal Executive or CILEx Practitioner is genuine?
Before instructing someone to carry out legal work for you it is sensible to satisfy yourself that the individual is a qualified lawyer. Never be afraid to ask your lawyer who they are regulated by. A Chartered Legal Executive and CILEx Practitioner will tell you that they are regulated by CILEx Regulation. You can check this by searching for their details in the CILEx Authorised Practitioners Directory. You can also make sure that there are no disciplinary orders against them. They also may mention that the firm in which they work is also regulated by another regulator.
CILEx Regulation Authorised Entities
In the past Chartered Legal Executives could not run their own entities (firms, businesses, practices). Since January 2015 Chartered Legal Executives, and other individuals, who have gained practice rights and become CILEx Practitioners can apply to be authorised to run their own entity.
How can I tell if a CILEx Regulation Authorised Entity is genuine?
You can check that an entity is authorised by CILEx Regulation in the CILEx Regulation Authorised Entities directory which will be available shortly.
Who regulates Chartered Legal Executives, CILEx Practitioners and CILEx Regulation Authorised Entities?
Chartered Legal Executives, CILEx Practitioners and CILEx Regulation Authorised Entities are regulated by CILEx Regulation.
CILEx Regulation’s role is to set and maintain standards in legal work and services provided by the people and entities they regulate. CILEx Regulation can take action if the people or entities do not meet those standards.
What do I do if something goes wrong?
You may find that you are not happy with how the individual you have instructed is working on your case. You should tell them what is concerning you and ask them to put things right. This can be done by meeting with them, setting out your concerns in an email or letter or telephoning them. If you continue to be unhappy, the entity where they work should have a complaints procedure that you can follow. If you want some ideas on how to complain, the Legal Ombudsman’s website has a leaflet that you can read. If you are not happy with the response to your complaint by the individual or entity you can make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
How are people protected if they use a Chartered Legal Executive, CILEx Practitioner or CILEx Regulation Authorised Entity?
CILEx Regulation oversees the standards in the professional work and general behaviour expected from individuals and entities that it regulates. All of those we regulate must know about, understand and follow the CILEx Code of Conduct. Those we regulate must:
- Uphold the rule of law and the impartial administration of justice.
- Maintain high standards of professional and personal conduct and justify public trust in [them], [their] profession and the provision of legal services.
- Behave with honesty and integrity.
- Comply with their legal and regulatory obligations and deal with their regulators and ombudsman openly, promptly and co-operatively.
- Act competently in the best interests of [you] and respect [your] confidentiality.
- Treat everyone equally and fairly.
- Ensure [their] independence is not compromised.
- Act effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles.
- Protect [your] … money and assets.
CILEx Regulation investigates cases where an allegation of misconduct is made against individuals and entities that it regulates. We assess whether the standards of conduct have fallen below those expected in the Code of Conduct. We can impose a range of sanctions where there is misconduct.
How are people protected if they use a CILEx Regulation Authorised Entity?
Insurance Each entity must have adequate insurance (known as Proffessional Indemnity Insurance or PII). This insurance is taken out by professionals to protect consumers against losses due to negligence. In the case of legal entities this would be negligent legal advice. Compensation Fund A Compensation Fund has been set up by CILEx Regulation. This acts as a backstop in circumstances where for some reason the firm is unable to pay out compensation where something has gone wrong.
Where can I find a Chartered Legal Executive or CILEx Practitioner?
There are different ways to find a Chartered Legal Executive or a CILEx Practitioner. Some of the things you can try include:
- Ask someone you know to recommend a Chartered Legal Executive, CILEx Practitioner or CILEx Regulation Authorised Entity they have used,
- Carry out a search on the CILEx Authorised Practitioners directory
- Carry out a website search.
How should I pay for a Chartered Legal Executive or CILEx Practitioner?
You can find information about paying for your legal services in the 'Legal Costs' section of this website.