Practice rights what are they?
By becoming a CILEX Practitioner, you will be regulated and authorised by CILEX Regulation Limited (CRL). You will be granted practice rights in your chosen area(s) of specialism.
What are the areas of specialism?
- Civil Litigation and Advocacy.
- Criminal Litigation and Advocacy.
- Family Litigation and Advocacy.
Apart from Immigration, all of the other areas of practice are reserved legal activities for the purposes of the Legal Services Act 2007. Immigration is a regulated legal activity under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
What does the award of practice rights mean?
In a regulated firm/entity, you can practice without supervision. This means that, for the purposes of the legislation, you do not need to have your work overseen by another regulated individual, such as a solicitor or CILEX Lawyer.
Who can apply for practice rights from CRL?
For Conveyancing and Probate practice rights, anyone, whether they are a member of CILEX or not, can apply for practice rights from CRL. If the applicant is a member of CILEX, it does not matter what grade of membership they hold.
For all of the other areas of specialism, the applicant must be at least a Graduate member (GCILEX) of CILEX before submitting their application for practice rights. CRL authorisation in these specialisms will not be awarded until the applicant has become a Fellow of CILEX (FCILEX).
Reasons why you may not previously have applied for practice rights:
You already work for a regulated firm/entity.
At all times, you are happy to work under the supervision of a regulated individual.
You are satisfied with the level of your career progression to date.
Reasons why you may now wish to apply for practice rights:
You may wish to enter a partnership with other regulated practitioners, or to establish your own regulated practice.
You may prefer to be able to work without the need for supervision.
You wish to progress your career by appointment to roles such as Head of Department, Team Leader, etc.
As Bob Dylan sang, “The Times They Are A’Changing”.
What is it? How does it affect Practice Rights?
The CILEX Professional Qualification (CPQ) will start to become available in mid-2021. This is the CILEX qualification framework focussed on training, legal knowledge and commercial awareness. It has three stages:
From approximately 2026 onwards, those who complete the CILEX training at the CPQ Professional level will become not only Fellows of CILEX (Chartered Legal Executives), but also CILEX Lawyers. As such they will automatically be awarded practice rights in their chosen specialist area of law.
This affects existing members of CILEX in different ways, depending on the current level of qualification.
- Existing Chartered Legal Executives (CLEs) – your status as a CLE will not be affected by the introduction of the CILEX Lawyer designation. However, you will not be able to call yourself a CILEX Lawyer unless you also hold practice rights. The scope of your authorisation will be less than those who are admitted as CILEX Lawyers using the CPQ framework. Therefore, if you wish to maintain parity of your authorisation with CILEX Lawyers, you will need to obtain practice rights.
- Existing members of CILEX (at any other grade of membership) who will complete their qualification as a CLE under the existing “Legacy” framework – you have until November 2026 in which to complete the academic stage of your qualification, by completing the Level 6 Diploma by that date. However, if you wish to maintain parity of your authorisation with CILEX Lawyers, you will also need to obtain practice rights. If you wish to do this under the current application process (see below), you have until December 2023 in which to obtain your practice rights. Alternatively, you will need to wait until the new “Top up” process is in place. CRL has yet to fully release the details of the date of availability and cost of this new process.
- Members who wish to apply for practice rights before the full implementation of the Professional Stage of CPQ – the final date for the introduction of the Professional Stage is not yet known. It is thought it will be in late 2026. If you wish to obtain practice rights before that date and to do so under the current application process (see below), you have until December 2023 in which to obtain your practice rights. Alternatively, you will need to wait until the new “Top up” process is in place. CRL has yet to fully release the details of the date of availability and cost of this new process.
Methods of Application for Practice Rights:
Currently, there is only one method of application to CRL for practice rights.
The Portfolio Route – the current application process requires you to submit a portfolio to demonstrate that you have at least five years’ experience in the legal sector, with at least two years having been obtained in the area of law in which you wish to obtain practice rights.
The cost is currently a minimum of £450 payable to CRL. There may also be other incidental costs such as the fee for an enhanced DBS Certificate.
The “Top up” Route – CRL is proposing to introduce a new “Top up” method of application for practice rights. CRL is seeking approval from the Legal Services Board which will enable practice rights to be granted, based on an assessment as an alternative to submission of a portfolio. The assessment is intended to show competence through the use of simulated case studies.
The date of introduction of the assessment is not yet known. It is thought it will be sometime in 2022. The nature of the assessment is not yet known. CRL has yet to confirm the cost of the assessment.
The Portfolio Route:
What do you need?
At least five years’ experience in the legal sector. For the two years before submission of your application, you must have been working in the area of law in which you wish to gain your practice rights.
Be able to provide written evidence of your knowledge of the area of law and practice. You can do this in a number of different ways:
- CILEX Level 6 examination
- Other equivalent examinations; and
- Submission of at least two portfolios of evidence.
Be able to provide written evidence of your experience of the area of law and practice. You do this by submission of at least three portfolios of evidence.
Be able to provide written evidence of your skills of the area of law and practice. The skills are:
- Client Care;
- Legal Research;
- Drafting; and
- Managing legal activities.
For all of these, you can do this in a number of different ways:
- CILEX Level 6 examination;
- Other comparable examinations; and
- Submission of logbooks and supporting evidence to show your competence and skill for your chosen area of specialism, as required in the relevant practice rights handbook.
The application fee, payable to CRL, is £450. There may be other ancillary fees, such as that for an up-to date DBS check.
How Brightlink Can Help You:
We have experienced practitioners on our team who have been awarded their practice rights in conveyancing and probate.
- To help you decide if you are yet ready to apply.
- Workshops to explain the application process.
- Work through examples of the information to include in your application, including specimen portfolios to evidence both your knowledge and your experience.
- Explain how to show your skills and the supporting evidence that you will need to send with your application.
- Online Resources, including:
- Examples of portfolios of evidence.
- Examples of skills logbooks.
- Examples of supporting evidence.
- Mentoring service:
- Whilst we cannot offer any guarantees about what will form a successful application supported by evidence, we can share with you how others have achieved that outcome in the past.
- CRL has a number of independent assessors to process applications and they each have slightly different approaches. This means that some may require different evidence or presentation of it from others.
- We have a single point of contact with CRL to pose any questions and to seek to find answers for you.
- You can talk to a CRL regulated practitioner to discuss your application and any supporting evidence.
We will be offering an opportunity in August for people to discuss applications to CILEx Regulation to obtain Practice Rights. To learn more and secure a ticket follow this link: Practice Rights Open Event