SRA extends plans to regulate “non-authorised CILEX members”

updated on 22 March 2024

Reading time: two minutes

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has laid out its plans to regulate CILEX (The Chartered Institute of Legal Executive) members, including paralegals and students, in a new consultation document published earlier this week.

The initial plans involved the SRA regulating CILEX authorised members; however, the regulator has since been asked to confirm its “willingness (and approach) to providing regulation of non-authorised CILEX members”, which includes CILEX students, paralegals and affiliates.

The current consultation, which will run from 20 March 2024 until 15 May 2024, requests views on:

  • the key changes the SRA would make to its Standards and Regulations; and
  • the SRA’s processes to bring non-authorised CILEX members within the scope of its regulation.

CILEX has previously reported strong support from its members, employers and consumers for the plans to redelegate its regulatory function from CILEX Regulation (CRL) to the SRA. However, a decision is still yet to be made and so the above changes will be made only if the redelegation proceeds.

Nearly 50% of CILEX’s members are non-authorised members. Meanwhile, 75% of all CILEX members work in SRA-regulated firms, with “87% of non-authorised CILEX members either working in those firms or in those authorised by CILEX”.

In the new consultation document, the SRA outlines three benefits of redelegation, if it were to proceed. The SRA expects that “simplifying the regulatory landscape by retaining a single regulator for all CILEX members will make it easier for consumers to understand their regulatory protections and redress”. It also said that it expects redelegation to promote and maintain adherence to the professional principles, and predicts that “the proposal will protect the public interest by enduring the sustainability of regulation for this group”.

The SRA says that it doesn’t see these proposals impacting the solicitors’ profession or the way it’s regulated. It adds: “As these CILEX members are not currently authorised or seeking to become authorised at these levels to provide reserved legal activities, we will not ‘authorise’ their ability to become members. We will have the limited role of regulating their conduct on behalf of CILEX. Their titles will not change and will not include reference to the SRA.”

If, following the current consultation, the SRA and CILEX agree to proceed with redelegation, the Legal Services Board will need to provide approval. The SRA says it’ll then “work with the Law Society to arrange the necessary changes to [its] Articles of Association to enable [the regulator] to take on the regulation of CILEX members”. It doesn’t expect “to be in a position to take on these new functions until spring 2025 at the earliest”.

You can find out more about the proposals and consultation in the SRA’s latest consultation document.