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Apply for Lexcel International (v5.1)

Lexcel International (v5) update

The Council of the Law Society of Northern Ireland has resolved to withdraw from the marketing and administration of the Lexcel International (V5) Standard for firms in Northern Ireland.

The Society is working with the Law Society of England and Wales to put in place transitional arrangements for firms, which will in due course be required to apply for accreditation and re-accreditation through the Law Society of England and Wales. 

Firms who have been awarded the Lexcel International (V5) Standard will remain accredited for three years, with annual re-accreditation and monitoring visits to ensure continued compliance.

Work has commenced on the transitional arrangements. In the meantime, the Law Society of Northern Ireland will continue to administer and market the Standard and will continue to receive applications for accreditation and re-accreditation.

Head of accreditations at the Law Society of England and Wales, Rachel Hawkins, said: 'Achieving the Lexcel accreditation demonstrates commitment to delivering quality legal services and meeting client expectations. We are pleased to be working closely and collaboratively with the Law Society of Northern Ireland to ensure a smooth transition for accredited firms in Northern Ireland. Both Law Societies will be providing information to support members with the arrangements in due course.'

Lexcel International v5.1 is for practices located in foreign jurisdictions or based in England and Wales with independent offices overseas.

Achieving Lexcel accreditation requires the completion of the self-assessment checklist for v5.1, submission of an application form and subsequent assessment by an independent assessment body.

Accreditation is awarded for three years, with annual re-accreditation and monitoring visits to ensure continued compliance.

How to apply

Step 1: Read Lexcel scheme rules (PDF 428kb) and Standard for Lexcel International v5.1 (PDF 3016kb)

Complete the self-assessment checklist for v5.1 (Word) to help determine any areas you should correct prior to assessment. You must be able to provide evidence that requirements have been in place for at least three months before the date of the first assessment.

You must select an assessor via one of our three approved assessment bodies (PDF 76kb). They are licensed by the Law Society which ensures that the process is independent and objective. Each assessment body will be able to advise you on how an assessor is allocated. 

You will need to send your completed self-assessment form (Word) to your chosen assessment body prior to the assessment. This will help to identify areas that need correcting prior to assessment. You will need to provide the date of assessment on your application form.

Step 2: Complete the application form

Complete the application form (Word 1.26mb) and submit to us prior to your assessment. We will provide your chosen assessor with all relevant information from your application form.

Step 3:We will then invoice you for the applicable fee. An annual fee is payable, based on the number of fee earners/legal advisors, to the Law Society. See the Lexcel fees page for full details.

Assessment and award of accreditation

Only qualified assessors who have undergone Lexcel training are permitted to assess practices against the Standard, which involves an on-site visit. The assessor determines whether your policies, procedures and plans meet the requirements.

The assessor will use the case management checklist v5.1 (Word 156kb) to assess the file and case management of a firm. They will also complete an assessment report v5.1 (Word 128kb) and possibly a corrective actions report v5.1 (Word 119kb).

Including the pre-application preparation, it can take between two to six months to achieve accreditation.

Each assessment body charges a fee for the actual assessment and subsequent annual maintenance visits, based on day rates. The cost is dependent upon the total number of fee earners/legal advisors and support staff and the time required to complete the assessment based on our guidelines (PDF).

If you do not agree with the independent assessor's final report, you may appeal.

Read our appeals policy (PDF)

Read about our appeals panel members

Help and support

Go to publications and support for our published toolkits with templates, our analysis on overlaps with other quality standards, free guidance notes, frequently asked questions and details of consulting support.

If you have any additional questions or feedback, please don't hesitate to contact the accreditation office:

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7320 5933

International case studies

Lexcel accredited practices tell us how their achievement has benefited them