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Sophie Cameron

Features and Opinion Editor, Solicitors Journal

Government to allow CILEX lawyers to apply for more senior judicial roles

Government to allow CILEX lawyers to apply for more senior judicial roles


The new rules aim to increase the number of judges to tackle the case backlog

The Ministry of Justice introduced a statutory instrument to Parliament that details new rules that will enable 4,500 experienced Chartered Institute of Legal Executive (CILEX) lawyers to apply to be appointed to more senior judicial roles on 11 May, in an effort to increase the number of judges in order to tackle the case backlog and widen diversity in the judiciary.

According to the government’s press release, the new rules will increase the number of judicial roles that legal professionals from under-represented groups can apply for, with CILEX lawyers previously only being able to apply for judicial roles involving less complex cases.

The statutory instrument seeks to amend section 50 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, to enable CILEX lawyers with seven years’ experience to apply to become recorders and judges of the upper tribunal, hearing complex civil, family, crime and tribunal cases. Being granted the role of a recorder will see such individuals preside over cases in the Crown Court, while judges of the upper tribunal will deal with a range of appeals on issues such as immigration and tax. CILEX lawyers gain their legal qualifications while working, rather than holding a university degree, which means that this group of legal professionals are more diverse.

Commenting on the announcement, Justice Minister, Mike Freer said: “We are striving to build a legal system that truly reflects the range of voices in our society. This change shows how important the broader legal profession is to our goal of breaking down barriers and boosting eligibility as we recruit more, diverse judges.”

CILEX Chair, Professor Chris Bones, said: “We wholeheartedly welcome this move by the Ministry of Justice. Women and ethnic minorities are currently under-represented in our judicial system at a senior level. To promote confidence in the rule of law, we need a judiciary that is representative of the society we live in, and as one of the most diverse parts of the legal profession, CILEX is a key solution to accessing talent of greater diversity.”