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SRA initiates consultation on regulation of CILEX students and paralegals

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SRA initiates consultation on regulation of CILEX students and paralegals

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The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has commenced a consultation on proposed rule changes aimed at facilitating the potential regulation of non-authorised members of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX)

This move follows CILEX's proposal to delegate regulation to the SRA, with the consultation focusing on the rules that would govern CILEX paralegals and students under this arrangement.

In 2023, CILEX initiated a consultation on its proposal to delegate regulation to the SRA, prompting the SRA to launch its own consultation on the necessary changes to accommodate authorised CILEX members. Now, the SRA's latest consultation addresses the regulation of non-authorised CILEX members, a concern raised by CILEX subsequent to the conclusion of the initial consultation.

The potential re-delegation of regulation was first broached by CILEX in 2022. Recognising the potential benefits of regulating CILEX members, the SRA's Board deemed it could enhance consumer protection within the legal sector.

Paul Philip, Chief Executive of the SRA, expressed openness to regulating CILEX members, highlighting the potential benefits for the legal landscape and public accessibility. He emphasised that the proposed approach would cater to the continued regulation of CILEX paralegals and students, a consideration specifically requested by CILEX.

The earlier consultation outlined a framework wherein all CILEX members would adhere to a distinct Code of Conduct aligned with solicitors' standards and regulations but tailored to their roles and contexts. Additionally, the consultation proposed retaining a separate route to authorisation for CILEX members, with the costs of regulating authorised CILEX lawyers to be fully covered by practicing certificate fees.

Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the proposed arrangements for non-authorised CILEX members until 15 May 2024. The SRA Board will deliberate on the feedback in June, with any decision to proceed with re-delegation subject to approval by the Legal Services Board.

The consultation marks a significant step towards potential regulation of CILEX members by the SRA, signalling a commitment to enhancing consumer protection and regulatory coherence within the legal profession.

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