Problems and Complaints – What we can do

CILEx Regulation oversees the behaviour and standards of CILEX members, practitioners and some law firms.

Everyone we regulate has to follow our rules and the CILEX Code of Conduct (the Code), which sets out the minimum standards of behaviour we expect from them. The Code can be found here.

Reporting problems

If you have a problem with a person or firm that we regulate, you should first complain to the CILEX member or firm that you have the problem with. The person or firm must tell you what their complaints procedure is.

Most problems can be sorted out quickly by telling the person or their firm about the problem. If you are unhappy with the response you receive from the CILEX member or law firm, you may be able to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, to us or another regulator depending on the type of complaint you have.

There are two types of complaints, these are complaints about the:

  • behaviour of a person or firm (which CILEx Regulation or another regulator can consider);
  • service provided by a person or firm (which the Legal Ombudsman can consider).

Who you should complain to depends on the type of problem. Find out more below –

When to report to us

We can take action against the people and firms we regulate (oversee) if they behave in a way that breaks the CILEX Code of Conduct in a serious way. Reports from the public help us ensure that those we regulate are keeping to the standards we expect of them.


We cannot deal with every type of problem people may have with those we regulate. We focus our efforts on the most serious cases where there is a real risk to the public and consumers.


The following link provides more information on the types of cases we deal with and how to report a CILEX member or firm to us.


When to report to us When to report to us

Legal Ombudsman (for complaints about service)

The Legal Ombudsman can deal with service-related complaints against fully qualified Chartered Legal Executive lawyers and law firms that we regulate. Their service is free to members of the public.


Examples of service complaints include: fee disputes, poor communication, delays, not doing what you requested or poor quality work.


Find out more about service complaints and the Legal Ombudsman


Legal Ombudsman website Legal Ombudsman website

How we deal with reports

We follow the CILEx Regulation Enforcement Rules when dealing with reports of wrongdoing against a person or firm.


Access the link below for information about when to report to us; how to report to us and how we deal with reports.


CRL Problems and Complaints process CRL Problems and Complaints process

Disciplinary Panels

CRL has two main disciplinary panels that we refer cases to, the Professional Conduct Panel (PCP); and the Disciplinary Tribunal (DT).


The role of the PCP is to decide whether there is enough evidence to show that the CILEX Code of Conduct is more likely than not to have been broken in a serious way. If the PCP decides there is enough evidence, it can refer the case to the DT.


The DT holds formal public hearings to decide cases and has the power to take action where the wrongdoing has either been admitted by the person or firm or proved by CILEx Regulation.


Disciplinary Panels Disciplinary Panels


A whistle-blower is a worker  who reports certain types of wrongdoing in the workplace. The wrongdoing they report  must be in the public interest, this means that it must affect others such as  the general public. Whistle-blowers are protected from being dismissed or subjected to any detriment by their employer because of their report if they follow the correct procedure and report their concerns to their employer, a legal adviser or certain specific bodies first.


Find out more about Whistleblowing – access our Regulation Matters article.


It is important to make sure you have protection as a whistle-blower.


Whistleblowing - find out more Whistleblowing - find out more

What the outcome might be

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.


We can only take action where there is enough evidence to show that the CILEX Code of Conduct 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.


We are unable to award compensation as part of the disciplinary process or change the outcome of a legal matter.


What the outcome might be What the outcome might be

Publishing disciplinary decisions

Where there is a finding of wrongdoing, we will publish the decision unless a disciplinary panel decides we should not. We publish decisions on our website and in the CILEx Journal. We also notify the person’s employer and other regulators.


Published disciplinary decisions Published disciplinary decisions

Firm closure

There are two main reasons why a firm may close. The firm may plan to close (for example due to retirement or sale), or we may have to close a firm to protect the public (which is known as an intervention).


Firm closure details Firm closure details

Complaints about CILEx Regulation

If you are unhappy about how we have dealt with you, or handled your report, you can complain about us under our Service Complaints Policy. For example, if you think we have taken too long to deal with a report you have raised with us.


If you complain about us, we may wait until the case is finished before looking at your complaint. This is to ensure that it does not delay the investigation into the person or firm or affect the outcome of the case.


Please note that the policy cannot be used to challenge decisions made by a disciplinary panel.


Reporting problems and concerns to CILEx Regulation Reporting problems and concerns to CILEx Regulation


These questions cover the scope of our investigations, who else can help you, what we expect of a complainant, how the investigation is carried out and the outcomes of the investigation.


Select the link below for details of our FAQs.