What we can do

A disciplinary finding against a person or firm we regulate has serious consequences, which may affect their CILEx membership or the work they can carry out.

Action can only be taken where there is enough evidence to show that the Code has been broken in a serious way. We call this professional misconduct.

We focus on the most serious cases of wrongdoing to protect customers and the public from harm. We also aim to uphold the standards and reputation of the profession.

Decisions we can take ourselves

If the person or firm fully admits the wrongdoing, we can agree with them how it should be dealt with by:

  • Giving them a warning or reprimand (or both)
  • Put conditions on their future behaviour or employment
  • Ask them to give an undertaking (a legal promise) about their future behaviour
  • Excluding them from CILEx membership for a fixed or indefinite period of time (in very serious cases)
  • Taking away a law firm’s authorisation, to limit the type of legal work they do (in very serious cases)

This agreement is called a “Determination by Consent”. The agreement must be approved by our independent Professional Conduct Panel.

If the person or firm does not fully admit the wrongdoing, we can refer the case to one of our disciplinary panels if there is evidence to show that the Code has been broken in a serious way. There is information here about what our disciplinary panels can do.

What we cannot do

We may decide to take no action if:

  • Your report is not about breaking the Code
  • There is not enough evidence show that the person or firm has broken the Code in a serious way
  • The issues you have reported happened more than a year ago (or you found out about them more than a year ago) and there is no good reason for the delay in you reporting to us
  • We do not have any power to deal with the case.  This might happen if, for example, the report is about someone we do not regulate, or poor service

We are also unable to:

  • Resolve a personal issue that you have with the person or firm which does not seriously breach the Code
  • Legally stop an individual or firm from contacting you, or using your information
  • Decide whether work has been carried out to a correct standard
  • Give you legal advice or assist with any ongoing dispute or court case
  • Decide whether you have been charged the correct amount
  • Stop someone from carrying out legal work altogether
  • Force an individual or firm to admit something or apologise
  • Award compensation as part of the disciplinary process

Some reports may include issues that need to be dealt with by the police, the courts, an employer, or other organisation first. We may decide to wait until they have finished their investigation before we take action.

What happens if we decide to take no action?

If we decide to take no action, we will close the case, tell you the outcome and explain our reasons to you.

If you disagree with our decision, you can ask our independent Professional Conduct Panel (PCP) to review it. For example, if you believe that we have not followed our rules correctly.

To ask for a review you will need to write to us (for example by email or letter) within 21 days of being informed of our decision to take no action.

You cannot appeal through CILEx Regulation decisions made by the PCP, or any of our other disciplinary panels.