Leaders of the Solicitors Regulation Authority will meet with the representative body for legal executives this week with a view to transferring regulation of its members.

Paul Philip and Anna Bradley, the chief executive and chair of the solicitors’ regulator, will hold talks with CILEX about how a possible move would work.

It is unlikely any switch would happen until next year at the earliest, but the Legal Services Board last month confirmed that CILEX, in principle, had the power to explore redelegating its regulatory functions.

That appears to have prompted the SRA to step up its efforts to secure the transfer of the 20,000 or so legal executives who are members of CILEX and currently regulated by CILEx Regulation.

SRA chief executive Paul Philip confirmed in his monthly press briefing on Tuesday that talks would be held this week with CILEX leaders. 'We have agreed with the board we are willing to submit a proposal to CILEX and we have gone through the work we think we need to do,' he said. 'We stand ready to have that conversation.

‘They are in talks with their present regulator and we have agreed we will speak to them later in the week. The reality is now it is in the hands of CILEX.’

Portrait of Paul Philip

Philips confirmed on Tuesday that talks would be held this week 

Source: Michael Cross

Philip said CILEX would need to consult with its members about any possible divorce from CILEx Regulation, before the SRA consults with solicitors about the expanded model. ‘There is quite a lot of water to flow under the bridge before that project comes to fruition,’ he added.

CILEX outlined its intention last year to transfer regulation of its members to the SRA, saying the solicitors’ regulator had the ‘scale and reach’ that it wanted. Given that 70% of CILEX practitioners work in SRA-regulated firms, it was also felt that one regulator could make life easier for employers as well.

There has been an increasingly bitter dispute between CILEX and its regulator. CILEx Regulation said plans to switch were not compliant with the Legal Services Act 2007 and that this was an ‘unhelpful and costly distraction’ from tackling the issues facing legal executives.


This article is now closed for comment.