How can I prepare?

Planning your application

Before you apply – please check the Stage-by-Stage Guide to help plan your application.

Before you apply you need to:

  • have the right experience and qualifications. If not look at practice rights
  • have business skills in financial management, marketing and risk
  • understand the type of firm you want and who you want to work with – this should be part of your business plan
  • start to develop policies and procedures specific to your firm
  • think about client care information

Start to plan a 13-month cashflow forecast which details your income streams and costs. This is a good way to test the viability of your business.

Your application details

Your application should include details about:

  • your firm’s structure and processes and how you manage risk
  • the owners and managers including their experience and skills
  • who’s responsible for compliance, managing the practice and finances
  • your quote for professional indemnity insurance (PII)

You will need an entity application form.  This form provides important information about your firm including:

  • where it will be located
  • its structure
  • the legal services it will provide
  • its previous records (if it’s an existing firm)

There will also be application forms for the key individuals in the firm – the Approved Manager(s) and Compliance Manager.

Do not purchase the insurance until the firm is granted `Provisional Authorisation’.

We will arrange for any DBS checks after you submit your application.

Application fees

Your application fee covers the assessment of your application and your first years practicing fee, and is based on:

  • the projected turnover
  • the structure of the firm
  • whether the firm will hold client money

You will also need to make a contribution towards Compensation Arrangements.

Read more information about fees.

What happens after you apply

First we will do an initial assessment of your application and contact you if there is anything missing or we need further information. We will look to do this within 2 weeks.

When we have all the required completed documentation, a full assessment usually takes within 30 days.

We may give your firm provisional authorisation. This sets out any conditions required to get full authorisation and allows you to decide when to start trading. It also allows you to arrange a start date for PII – do not buy PII until your firm is given provisional authorisation.

Once granted full authorisation, you are then able to commence work in the areas for which you have been authorised. We will send you a letter of authorisation, certificates, and access to our digital logo.

If your application is declined, you will receive a letter explaining the decision and advice on the appeals process.

Read the CILEx Authorisation Rules for details of the application and appeals processes.