Paralegal regulation begins through the voluntary Professional Paralegal Register
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People in need of legal services are now able to find regulated paralegals on the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR), which was launched on 6 July.
The new regulation of paralegals is voluntary, meaning that paralegals do not have to sign up to the register. However, as The Lawyer reports, it is hoped that the register will become a marker of quality, with those paralegals choosing not to join the register being seen as less trustworthy by the public. In light of this, the PPR's organisers, the National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP) and the Institute of Paralegals (IOP), hope that the vast majority of paralegals will want to sign up.
To join the PPR, paralegals must already be members of an industry body such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the NALP or the IOP. Writing in the Solicitors Journal, James O’Connell, head of policy at the IOP, said: "Look beyond solicitors' practices, it quickly becomes evident that most paralegals are not frustrated solicitors-in-waiting, just as most nurses are not failed doctors. Instead, they are career paralegals, a greater number of which work in-house (mostly without solicitor oversight), and considerably more work in the unregulated sector…Most paralegals want additional responsibility and greater recognition. They are more than willing to accept professional obligations in return."