SRA regulation of non-authorised CILEX members – Law Society response

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) should withdraw its proposals around the regulation of Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX) members to focus on its core regulatory responsibilities.

The proposals

The SRA is consulting on proposals to regulate ‘non-authorised’ members of CILEX, including CILEX students, paralegals and affiliates.

This follows earlier SRA proposals to regulate chartered legal executives and CILEX practitioners.

The consultation asked for views on:

  • changes to the SRA Standards and Regulations
  • its processes to bring non-authorised CILEX members within the scope of SRA regulation

Our view

“There is significant overlap between this consultation and CILEX and the SRA’s 2023 consultations,” said Law Society chief executive Ian Jeffery.

“The premise of this consultation is the SRA seeking views to enable it to regulate CILEX members, should CILEX decide to proceed with redelegation. This removes from scope the question of whether this is something the SRA should be doing.

“The SRA should withdraw these and the previous CILEX proposals and instead concentrate on its core regulatory responsibilities.

“It is not necessary to have non-authorised CILEX members regulated, as CILEX can deal with them as a membership issue.

“There is also no case presented in the consultation as to why individual regulation of non-authorised members is required in the way the SRA is proposing.

“Consumers and the wider public interest need greater consideration. There is a significant risk of increased consumer confusion should these proposals proceed.

"We are concerned that proposals for the redelegation of CILEX’s regulatory functions to the SRA could adversely affect the SRA’s ability to meet its duty to regulate the solicitor profession in a way that supports and promotes the regulatory objectives.

“There is an impression in the consultation that the Law Society’s approval of the necessary changes to the corporate objects of the SRA to be able to take on the regulation of CILEX members is no more than an administrative issue to be resolved.

“Such approval cannot be assumed, and would in any event require a decision of our Council.

“CRL has established its role as the bespoke regulator of CILEX members. CRL has vehemently opposed the proposed redelegation, stating there have been no regulatory failings on its part.”

What this means for solicitors

We are concerned these proposals could adversely affect the SRA’s ability to meet its duty to regulate solicitors in a way that supports and promotes the regulatory objectives.

Next steps

The consultation closed on 15 May 2024.

The SRA Board will consider the responses.

If it decides to go ahead with the proposals, the SRA and CILEX will ask the Legal Services Board to approve the regulatory arrangements.

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