CILEX strengthens ‘championing body’ role by acquiring paralegal institute

UK Law Soc Gazette reports

he representative body for legal executives has acquired the UK’s only institute for paralegals – which could potentially see even more legal professionals come under the remit of the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

CILEX announced today that it has ‘strengthened its position as the body that champions legal professionals’ by acquiring the Institute of Paralegals (IoP) and its Professional Paralegal Register, a voluntary regulator.

Nearly half of the institute’s 1,000 members work in law firms.

CILEX will manage a phased transition, the body said. ‘Whilst their IoP status and membership package will be retained, joining CILEX will give them access to the integrity and quality standard associated with CILEX Paralegal status along with the benefits of CILEX networks, membership services and CPD, already enjoyed by 12,000 CILEX paralegal members. They will also have the opportunity to advance their careers through the CILEX Professional Qualification (CPQ) to become advanced paralegals or CILEX lawyers if they want,’ it added.

Linda Ford

Ford: ‘We see the role of paralegals only becoming more important’

CILEX chief executive Linda Ford said: ‘CILEX and the IoP have a shared vision for recognising the important role paralegals play in the delivery of legal services. As the home of specialist legal professionals, we were the natural choice to take the IoP and PPR forward, as we are able to offer its members a recognised professional status as a CILEX Paralegal and access to structured and supported career pathways.

‘As employers increasingly recognise the value of a legal workforce with diverse skills, backgrounds and experiences, we see the role of paralegals only becoming more important.’

The acquisition could potentially see the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s remit grow. CILEx Regulation is the independent regulatory body of CILEX. However, CILEX revealed last year that it was talking to the SRA about switching regulators. The dispute prompted the Legal Services Board to intervene.