SRA ‘should withdraw’ proposals to regulate CILEX members

The Law Society of England and Wales has expressed concern at the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) continued pursuit of regulating authorised and non-authorised members of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX).

The SRA’s consultation into proposals to regulate non-authorised members of CILEX lacks clear, evidence-based reasons as to the impact of these proposals on consumers and the wider public interest.

The Law Society believes:

  • The SRA should withdraw this and previous proposals around the regulation of CILEX members to focus on its current core regulatory responsibilities
  • It is unnecessary to regulate non-authorised persons on an individual basis, given the types of work undertaken, the supervision arrangements and existing regulatory oversight already in place
  • These proposals would have a significant and negative impact on consumers, the wider public interest and the regulatory objectives. Causing further confusion around the regulation and authorisation of providers of legal services and consumer choice
  • CILEx Regulation (CRL) has established its role as the bespoke regulator of CILEX members

Law Society chief executive officer Ian Jeffery said:

“There is significant overlap between this consultation and CILEX and the SRA’s 2023 consultations.

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.”

On the regulation of non-authorised persons, Ian Jeffery said:

“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.”

On the impact of these proposals on consumers, Ian Jeffery added:

“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 the Society’s 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.”

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