The investigation process

We aim to keep within the following timescales:

  • We acknowledge your correspondence within two working days and aim to respond substantively within 10 working days
  • You and the complainant (if there is one) will be given 14 calendar days to respond to requests for information
  • We aim to refer a case to the Professional Conduct Panel within six months of the complaint
  • The Disciplinary Tribunal (DT) will aim to hear cases within six months of a referral to it

Withdrawal of a complaint 

A complainant (if there is one) may withdraw their complaint at any time. If a complainant fails to engage with the investigation a decision will be made as to whether we pursue the complaint against you in the absence of the original complainant.

What is the investigation process?

Stage 1: Preliminary Investigation

We will conduct a preliminary investigation and decide whether to:

  • reject a complaint where it has no jurisdiction or there is insufficient evidence of a breach of the Code of Conduct
  • explore the option of entering into a Determination by Consent, if the misconduct and penalty are accepted
  • proceed with the investigation to gather further evidence
  • refer directly to the Disciplinary Tribunal because of the serious nature of the alleged breach of the Code of Conduct

Stage 2: Investigation

As soon as we have conducted preliminary investigations into the conduct of your entity and gathered any supporting evidence we will notify you of the investigation and liaise with the Compliance Manager. It may, therefore, be a few weeks before you become aware of the investigation.

You will be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations and to provide evidence where you are able to.

Your responses will be provided to the complainant (if there is one) so that they may respond to any evidence you provide to refute their complaint.

Stage 3: Conclusion of the investigation

At the conclusion of the investigation a report on the complaint is prepared by the Investigating Officer for submission to the PCP or DT along with all the evidence that has been gathered.

You and the complainant (if there is one) will be sent a copy of the report and you will both have 14 days within which to submit any written comments about the report.

Any comments received will be included as an addendum to the report but will not change the report itself.

The allegations will then be referred to the next hearing and we will inform you of the date.

You should be aware that during the investigation, if evidence of further misconduct is identified, we may pursue this as an additional allegation(s) to the current investigation.

Stage 4: Outcome of the Professional Conduct Panel/Disciplinary Tribunal

You will be notified of the decision within 21 days of the matter being considered by the PCP or DT.

Where a finding of misconduct is made, the decision is published on the CILEx Regulation website and in the Chartered Legal Executive Journal.

Publications are made in accordance with the CILEx Regulation Publication Policy.

Decisions may be published in other publications, where appropriate.

The CILEx Regulation Publication Policy is an Annex to the Enforcement Handbook.