The Investigation, Disciplinary and Appeals Rules (IDAR) are the rules that CILEx Regulation follows when investigating complaints. The IDAR Handbook helps explain these rules.
CILEx Regulation decides all allegations about misconduct on the balance of probabilities. Details of this can be found within the IDAR Handbook.
CILEx Regulation investigates the allegation. When an investigation is complete a summary of the issues is prepared and the matter is put to the Professional Conduct Panel (PCP) for consideration.
The Professional Conduct Panel
The PCP sits as two independent lay members and one professional CILEx member. The meeting is independently clerked. The PCP has the power to:
- Decide there is no case to answer and reject the complaint.
- Decide there is a case to answer, and then either:
- refer the case to the Disciplinary Tribunal (DT), or
- if you admit the misconduct, and it is appropriate to do so in the circumstances, and with your consent, the PCP can impose sanctions.
Our Sanctions page details the decisions the PCP has the power to make.
The PCP also has the power to make an interim order at any time, on their own application or on our application, if it is necessary for the protection of the public or otherwise, while you are waiting for your matter to be heard before the DT.
The PCP can either suspend your membership or authorisation, or impose restrictions on you, as the PCP considers appropriate.
In some cases, CILEx Regulation will be able to make a decision about a complaint made against you without referral to the PCP. Our Decisions
page details the decisions CILEx Regulation has the power to make.
The Disciplinary Tribunal
The Disciplinary Tribunal (DT) sits as two independent lay members and one professional CILEx member.
DT proceedings are formal whereby CILEx Regulation brings charges against you. The charges are drafted against the CILEx Code of Conduct and, where relevant, may also refer to other rules and regulations that you are expected to comply with. The charges will be supported with witness statements and exhibits.
You will be entitled to attend and be represented at the hearing. You have the right to seek legal advice and your employer might provide you access to representation.
You may serve evidence and statements in response to the charges. All the documents will be collated into a single hearing bundle.
The hearing begins with CILEx Regulation presenting its case and you will then present your response to the charges against you. Either party may call witnesses to provide oral evidence in support of their case. You will conclude the hearing with your closing speech. The DT then retires to consider whether the charges have been proved against you.
Our Sanctions page details the decisions the DT has the power to make.
Where you make an application for an adjournment of a meeting of the PCP or hearing before the DT, the adjournment policy will be followed. Details can be found in Annex 4 of the IDAR Handbook.
What the PCP and DT cannot do
The CILEx Regulation disciplinary panels cannot award compensation in individual cases. However, complaints about service are investigated by the Legal Ombudsman, who can award compensation where you have provided poor service to clients.
If the complaint against you relates to dishonesty leading to financial loss, which occurred in an entity authorised by CILEx Regulation, your client may be able to apply to the CILEx Compensation Fund for redress.
CILEx Regulation has developed sanctions guidance which is contained in Annex 2 of the IDAR handbook. It is guidance only and may be used by decision-makers to guide them on reaching a decision on sanction. It is intended to promote proportionality, consistency and transparency within decision-making.
Appealing a decision
Decisions of the PCP and DT may be appealed by you and are heard by an Appeals Panel. The complainant cannot appeal a decision of the PCP and DT, but does have a right of review to the PCP where a complaint has been rejected by the Office. Details of what to include in an appeal notice and the time within which to lodge appeals can be found in the IDAR under Rule 34.
All Conduct Panels' decisions are published, where a finding of misconduct is made against you. The decision is published on the CILEx Regulation website and in the Chartered Legal Executive Journal, in accordance with the CILEx Regulation Publication Policy. Decisions may be published in other publications and employers are informed, where appropriate. Further information can be found in Annex 3 of the IDAR Handbook.