Chartered Legal Executives

What is a Chartered Legal Executive?

A Chartered Legal Executive is a lawyer who has completed all the elements of the route to qualification at the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx).

What does a Chartered Legal Executive do?

A Chartered Legal Executive often works alongside solicitors or CILEx Practitioners. He or she carries out reserved legal work, under the supervision of an Authorised Person, unless he or she is a CILEx Practitioner, in which case no supervision is required.

The most common areas of law that Chartered Legal Executives specialise in are:

  • Conveyancing, which is the legal work involved in buying and selling property, dealing with leases, or dealing with landlord and tenancy issues.
  • Criminal law, which is defending and prosecuting people accused of crimes.
  • Company and business law, which is advising on laws which concern clients’ businesses, such as tax and employment law.
  • Litigation, which is the process of going to court to resolve disputes.
  • Personal injury, which is handling accident claims.
  • Family law, which includes divorce, adoption and children's issues.
  • Probate, which is dealing with wills, trusts, inheritance tax and the administration of estates.

A Chartered Legal Executive may also administer oaths and is able to represent people in some courts, before a Judge or at a tribunal. Some Chartered Legal Executives run their own law firm carrying out non-reserved legal work.

CILEx Practitioners

What is a CILEx Practitioner?

A CILEx Practitioner is a specialist lawyer who can work independently in one or more areas of legal work.

What does a CILEx Practitioner do?

CILEx Practitioners are authorised to work in one or more of the following areas of legal work:

  • Criminal, and/or family, and/or civil litigation and advocacy. Litigation is the process of going to court to resolve disputes, and advocacy is speaking on a person’s behalf in court.
  • Immigration, which includes asylum, citizenship and nationality issues.
  • Probate, which is dealing with wills, trusts, inheritance tax and the administration of a dead person’s estate.
  • Conveyancing, which is the legal work involved in buying and selling property, dealing with leases or dealing with landlord and tenancy issues. To be authorised by us a CILEx Practitioner must show that he or she has the right knowledge, skills and experience in his or her specialist area of law.

CILEx Practitioners apply to CILEx Regulation to gain the right to practice in these specialist areas of law. This legal work is called reserved legal work and, unsupervised, authorised CILEx Practitioners can:

  • Appear as an advocate before a court.
  • Conduct litigation.
  • Carry out conveyancing works.
  • Perform probate work.
  • Administer oaths, which is the process of a person swearing that a document is true.

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 check that the individual is who they claim to be. You can do this by searching for their details in the CILEx Authorised Practitioners Directory.

The Directory does not contain details of individuals who are members of CILEx who have yet to qualify as Chartered Legal Executives and are in other grades, such as Associate, Graduate, Affiliate and Student. If there are any disciplinary findings against a member of CILEx, information is available in the Disciplinary Records.

They may also mention that the firm they work in is regulated by another regulator.

CILEx Authorised Entities

What is a CILEx Authorised Entity?

A CILEx Authorised Entity is a firm, business, practice or any other type of organisation regulated and authorised by CILEx Regulation to deliver specific areas of legal work. Entities have demonstrate that they have the correct processes and procedures in place to conduct legal work; that they meet the necessary professional standards and that they comply with the CILEx Code of Conduct.

How can I tell if a CILEx Authorised Entity is genuine?

You can check that an entity is authorised by CILEx Regulation in the CILEx Authorised Entity Directory.

Who regulates Chartered Legal Executives, CILEx Practitioners and CILEx Authorised Entities? 

CILEx Regulation is an independent regulator set up by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) under the Legal Services Act 2007.

Client Survey

CILEx Regulation has a client survey and it welcomes your views so it can design regulation which improves the way legal services are delivered to best meet consumers' needs.

What do I do if something goes wrong?

There may be times when you need to raise a concern or make a formal complaint about an individual lawyer or entity.

If you need to make a complaint you should firstly complain directly to your legal services provider and they will take steps to resolve your complaint for you. Your legal services provider must respond to your complaint within 8 weeks. At the end of the complaints process, you will receive a decision.

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.

If you need more information about how to complain, the Legal Ombudsman’s website has a leaflet that you can read.

How are people protected if they use a Chartered Legal Executive, CILEx Practitioner or CILEx 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. CILEx Regulation investigates cases where an allegation of misconduct is made against individuals and entities that it regulates. If  the individual's or entity's conduct has fallen below the standards expected in the Code of Conduct a range of sanctions can be imposed.

How are people protected if they use a CILEx Authorised Entity?

Insurance

Each entity must have adequate insurance (known as Professional Indemnity Insurance or PII). This insurance is taken out by firms 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 on our Legal Costs pages.