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. They normally specialise in a particular area of law and train to the same standard as a solicitor (degree honours level) in that area.
What services do chartered legal executives 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 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, they 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 they are not able to obtain higher rights of an audience than a solicitor and barrister may obtain. This means that they cannot appear in matters at the Crown Court, High Court, Court of Appeal or Supreme Court.
Much like solicitors, chartered legal executives take instructions from the client and provides legal advice.
In addition, they draft legal documents, analyse complex materials, negotiate with opposing parties and have contact with other legal professionals on behalf of their client.