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Chartered Legal Executive

What is a Chartered Legal Executive?

A person who has qualified as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX) is known as a Chartered Legal Executive.

The training to become a Chartered Legal Executive is not as wide-ranging as that to become a solicitor. A Chartered Legal Executive normally specialises in a particular area of law and has trained to the same standard as a solicitor (degree honours level) in that area.

What services does a Chartered Legal Executive provide?

As Chartered Legal Executives are trained to the same level as solicitors in the relevant area of law in which they practise, the work is therefore almost identical to that of a solicitor save for some exceptions.

A key exception to the work undertaken by Chartered Legal Executives in comparison to solicitors is the rights of audience obtained on qualification. A solicitor on qualification will have automatic rights of audience in the Magistrates Court, County Court and some Crown Court hearings as a solicitor is an “authorised person” within the definition of the Legal Services Act 2007 and so can exercise a right of audience as a reserved legal activity.

A Chartered Legal Executive, as a person under the supervision of an authorised person, can only exercise rights of audience in certain unopposed applications in the County Court and for an application in the County Court by consent.

In addition, a Chartered Legal Executive may appear in County Court arbitrations and before tribunals (at the discretion of the relevant Court or Tribunal) or if employed by the Local Authority or other Housing Management Organisation (exercising Local Authority housing functions) can exercise rights of audience in the County Court or Magistrates Court on their behalf. This means that the rights of the audience are very much more limited than those of a solicitor.

They can, however, choose to train and qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive advocate to obtain rights of audience in civil, criminal or family proceedings, which would enable the representation of clients at court including County and Magistrates Court depending on the qualification obtained.

Note, however, that a Chartered Legal Executive is not able to obtain higher rights of an audience that a solicitor and barrister may obtain. This means that a Chartered Legal Executive cannot appear in matters at the Crown Court, High Court, Court of Appeal or Supreme Court.

The most common areas of law that a Chartered Legal Executive specialises in are:

  • Conveyancing
  • Criminal Law
  • Company and Business Law
  • Civil Litigation
  • Personal injury
  • Family Law
  • Probate

Much like solicitors, a Chartered Legal Executive takes instructions from the client and provides legal advice.

In addition, a Chartered Legal Executive drafts legal documents, analyses complex materials, negotiates with opposing parties and has contact with other legal professionals on behalf of their client.

Where does a Chartered Legal Executive work?

A Chartered Legal Executive will ordinarily work alongside solicitors and/or other Chartered Legal Executives within a law firm. A Chartered Legal Executive is regulated by CILEX Regulation which is an independent regulator set up by CILEx under the Legal Services Act 2007.

There are several routes to career progression as a Chartered Legal Executive. A Chartered Legal Executive can rise to a managerial position, qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive advocate, become a partner, or become a solicitor.

Additionally, a Chartered Legal Executive is now eligible to apply for some judicial appointments such as a District Judge, Employment Judge and a Coroner.

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