Our two disciplinary panels consider cases and decide how complaints should be dealt with.
The Professional Conduct Panel
The Professional Conduct Panel (PCP) is made up of two independent lay members (people who do not work for the CILEx Group and who do not work in the legal profession) and one Chartered Legal Executive. An independent clerk runs the meeting.
The PCP has the power to:
- reject a complaint because it decides there is no case to answer (there is not enough evidence to take further action)
- decide there is a case to answer (there is enough evidence to take further action)
If the PCP decides to take further action, it can refer the case to the Disciplinary Tribunal or, if the person or firm admits the wrongdoing and agrees, the case can be brought to an end by a decision to:
- set conditions about their future conduct
- require undertakings (promises which can be enforced by law)
- reprimand and/or warn them
Where a complaint is against a firm, the PCP may make a temporary order for the Approved Manager (a lawyer in the firm) to enter into a Practice Management Agreement to close or manage the firm so that clients are protected.
Decisions that CILEx Regulation can make
In some cases, CILEx Regulation will be able to make a decision about a complaint without referring the matter to the PCP. These types of decisions include:
- rejecting a complaint where CILEx Regulation has no power to deal with the case, where there is not sufficient evidence, or where the issues happened more than a year ago
- entering a final decision to end the investigation by consent, where the person complained about has accepted the wrongdoing and a penalty
- referring serious cases directly to the Disciplinary Tribunal
The Disciplinary Tribunal
The Disciplinary Tribunal (DT) is made up of two independent lay members (people who do not work for the CILEx Group and who do not work in the legal profession) and one Chartered Legal Executive.
The Tribunal’s proceedings are formal. CILEx Regulation brings charges against the person or firm. We prepare the charges to explain what the person or firm has done and which parts of the CILEx Code of Conduct have not been complied with. The charges also set out where any other rules and regulations have been broken. The charges are supported by witness statements and exhibits (for example, letters or other documents) and evidence may be given in person.
The hearing begins with CILEx Regulation explaining their case. Then the person or firm subject to the allegation will state their case and respond to the charges against them. The DT will then consider the case in private and make their decision.
Disciplinary Tribunal sanctions
If the DT decides the charges have been proven (the individual or firm has done wrong) it has the power to order:
- that conditions are set for the future conduct of a firm, or on an individual’s employment
- reprimand and/or warn them
- exclude them from membership or authorisation
They may also be ordered to pay:
- a fine – up to £100,000 for CILEx members, up to £50 million for CILEx Practitioners and Approved Managers and a percentage of a firm’s turnover or up to £250 million, whichever is greater
- costs of the case
Where the Tribunal decides to withdraw authorisation from a regulated firm (so they are no longer regulated by CILEx Regulation) the DT may ask the firm to enter into a Practice Management Agreement to close or manage the firm.
In some cases, an adjournment of a PCP meeting or DT hearing is requested. In these cases, the adjournment policy will be followed.
What the PCP and DT cannot do
The PCP and DT cannot award compensation or force an individual or firm to apologise.
Guidance on sanctions
There is more information about sanctions in the Enforcement Handbook, which explains our investigation and disciplinary processes in detail. We also have sanctions guidance, a fines policy and costs policy which have been developed to guide those making decisions about imposing sanctions.
Appealing a decision
A PCP or DT decision may be appealed by CILEx Regulation, or the individual or firm – but not the person who made the complaint.
If CILEx Regulation rejects a complaint, the person who made the complaint has the right to ask the PCP to review our decision to reject it.
Appeals are heard by an Appeals Panel, which is also made up of two independent members who are not legal professionals and one Charterd Legal Executive.
Check a record
You can check if a disciplinary decision has been made against a member of CILEx, a CILEx Practitioner or a regulated firm in the Directory of disciplinary orders.
Publishing disciplinary decisions
If a case is proven, the decision is published on the CILEx Regulation website and in the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives’ Journal. Decisions may be published in other publications. Where appropriate, employers are informed of a decision.
You can find out more about the publication of decisions in our publication policy.