CILEx Regulation’s disciplinary panels
CILEx Regulation has two disciplinary panels, which consider cases and make decisions about how complaints should be dealt with. These are the Professional Conduct Panel (PCP) and Disciplinary Tribunal (DT).
The Professional Conduct Panel (PCP)
The PCP is made up of three people. Two are independent lay members (people who do not work for the CILEx Group and who do not work in the legal profession) and one professional CILEx member (a member of CILEx who works in the legal sector). An independent clerk runs the meeting.
What sanctions can the PCP make?
The PCP has the power to do the following:
- Reject the 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 there is a case to answer it can do one of two things. It can either pass the case to the Disciplinary Tribunal (DT) or, if the person or entity in question admits the wrongdoing and is in agreement, then the matter can be brought to an end by a decision, as long as it is appropriate to:
- Set conditions in relation to their future conduct, or if they are an individual, on their employment, and require undertakings (promises which can be enforced by law) in relation to their future conduct.
- Reprimand or warn them.
Where the complaint is against an entity (firm, business or practice) the PCP may make a temporary order for the Approved Manager, who is a lawyer in the entity, to enter into a Practice Management Agreement to close or manage the entity so that clients are protected.
Decisions that CILEx Regulation can make
In some cases, CILEx Regulation will be able to make a decision about your complaint without passing your matter to the PCP. The types of cases include:
- Rejecting a complaint where CILEx Regulation has no power to deal with the matter or there is not sufficient evidence.
- Entering into a final decision to end the investigation into the complaint, by consent, where the person complained about has accepted the wrongdoing and a penalty.
- Referring very serious cases directly to the Disciplinary Tribunal.
Disciplinary cases are heard by two independent lay members (people who do not work for the CILEx Group and who do not work in the legal profession) and one professional CILEx member (a member of CILEx who works in the legal sector).
DT proceedings are formal. CILEx Regulation brings charges against the person or entity you have complained about. CILEx Regulation prepares the charges to explain what the person or entity has done and which parts of the CILEx Code of Conduct this breaches. If any other rules and regulations have been broken this is also explained. The charges are supported by witness statements and exhibits (for example letters or other documents).
We will prepare a witness statement for you to sign and you may have to give evidence when the DT considers the complaint. We will try to help you through this process as we understand this may be daunting. You may seek independent legal advice about giving evidence at the Disciplinary Tribunal as well.
The DT hearing begins with us explaining our case first. At that point, you may be asked to give evidence. Once we have presented our case the person or entity that you have complained about will present their case and respond to the charges against them. The DT will then privately consider the case and make their decision.
What sanctions can the Disciplinary Tribunal make?
If the DT finds the charges proved it has the power to order the following against the individual or entity:
- Set conditions in relation to their future conduct, or if they are an individual, on their employment.
- Require them to give undertakings (promises which can be enforced by law) in relation to their future conduct.
- Reprimand and/or warn them.
- Exclude them from membership or authorisation.
In addition, they may 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 an Authorised Entity's turnover or up to £250 million, whichever is greater.
- Costs of the case.
Where the decision is to withdraw authorisation from an entity, which means that CILEx Regulation will no longer regulate them, the DT may ask them to enter into a Practice Management Agreement to close or manage the entity.
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.
Guidance to sanctions
If you want to find out more information about the sanctions disciplinary panels can use there is guidance in the CILEx Investigation, Disciplinary and Appeals Rules (IDAR) handbook. It has been developed to guide those making decisions about imposing sanctions. It is intended to promote proportionality, consistency and transparency within decision making.
Appealing a decision
The person or entity that you have complained about may appeal a decision made by the PCP and DT, however, you cannot.
However, you do have a right to ask for a review by the PCP if your complaint has been rejected by CILEx Regulation. If you want the PCP to review our decision, we will provide you with details explaining how to do this.
Appeals are heard by an Appeals Panel.
Check a record
You can check if a disciplinary decision has been made against a member of CILEx, a CILEx Practitioner or a CILEx Authorised Entity in the Directory of disciplinary orders.
Other complaints procedures
There are other bodies that you can complain to or other methods of redress (ways for your complaint to be resolved) that you can take and you may wish to find out more information about them.