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Practice rights come first, IPS says

Legal executives could set up firms with other lawyers and licensed conveyancers

4 April 2013

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Ian Watson, chief executive of ILEX Professional Standards (IPS), has said his organisation wants to obtain independent practice rights for legal executives before deciding whether to regulate non-lawyers.

IPS and CILEx applied to the Legal Services Board for independent practice rights to supply probate, conveyancing, litigation, advocacy and immigration services.

The application, which would need the Lord Chancellor's approval, would allow IPS to regulate firms run by legal executives, solicitors, barristers and licensed conveyancers.

It would not enable IPS to follow in the footsteps of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and regulate non-lawyers in ABSs.

Watson said: "Although it is possible to apply to become a licensing authority at the same time as applying to become an approved regulator, IPS took the view that it wanted to focus its attentions on the current rights applications as they go through the Legal Services Board, the Lord Chancellor and parliamentary approval processes.

"The Lord Chancellor can only approve a licensing application if he has already approved the relevant rights applications."

Watson said the organisations which IPS would be able to authorise as a result of its application would be limited to "sole practitioners and businesses which are owned and managed by authorised persons - i.e chartered legal executives, others authorised by CILEx, solicitors, barristers, conveyancers etc.

"Anyone granted practice rights by CILEx would also be able to practise in or be an owner of an organisation regulated by other approved regulators - eg the Law Society/SRA/ or CLC."

CILEx and IPS also applied to extend existing powers to conduct litigation from criminal work to civil and family proceedings and grant related rights of audience to those who are granted rights to conduct litigation. This needs the approval only of the LSB.

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