CILEx Authorised Entities
What is a CILEx Authorised Entity?
A firm authorised by CILEx Regulation is known as a CILEx Authorised Entity.
We regulate and authorise our firms to provide specific areas of legal work. Firms applying to us to be authorised and regulated must show that they have the correct processes and procedures in place to conduct legal work; that they meet the necessary professional standards and that they comply with the CILEx Code of Conduct.
How you can find out if a firm is genuine
You can find details of our regulated firms in the CILEx Authorised Entity Directory.
We provide our regulated firms with a logo, to show that they are regulated by us. Logos can be copied onto websites, so from June 2018, we have provided a digital logo to our firms as one of our measures to increase security for consumers. This is an example of the logo:
When you visit the website of one of our firms:
1. Click on the logo. The screen display will look like the one below. This is confirmation from us that the firm is genuine and regulated by us.
2. You must then click on the green bar at the head or foot of the page to make sure that you return to the firm’s genuine website.
3. If the screen display looks like the one below, you must contact us at email@example.com because the website may not be genuine.
Our firms are gradually starting to use the digital logo but not all our firms have it on their website yet. If you visit a website which displays our logo, and you cannot click through on it, you should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries about the firm.
What legal work can a CILEx Authorised Entity do?
Those legal practitioners authorised to deliver legal services in our firms can carry out one or more of the following:
- Appear before a court as an advocate, who is someone who speaks on a person’s behalf.
- Conduct litigation, which is legal work involved in the process of going to court.
- Carry out conveyancing, which is legal work required to buy and sell houses, deal with leases, or deal with landlord and tenancy issues.
- Perform probate work, which is legal work dealing with wills, trusts, inheritance tax and the dead people’s estates.
- Administer oaths.
How does an entity become a CILEx Authorised Entity?
The owners of a firm go through a thorough and rigorous application process to demonstrate that they are competent to deliver legal services and are not likely to put their clients or the public at risk. As part of the application process we ensure that entities are managed in such a way as to provide a good service to their clients. We scrutinise applicants’ internal procedures to ensure their business can:
- Treat client information confidentially.
- Deal safely with client money.
- Deal effectively with complaints.
- Manage cases professionally.
- Provide all necessary information to the client.
- Record client information accurately.
- Inform clients regularly about their case.
- Ensure each case is progressed correctly.
All authorised legal practitioners in a firm must show that they have the right knowledge, skills and experience in their specialist area of law. In addition they must continue to update and develop their knowledge of the area of law in which they specialise and their understanding of how to do the work.
Each CILEx Authorised Entity must have a Compliance Manager who can demonstrate that he or she has the knowledge, skills and experience to manage the business and manage the accounts. The compliance manager is also responsible for making sure that the entity meets our regulatory requirements.
In our supervisory capacity we provide support and guidance to our regulated entities and conduct regular reviews with them. They must submit an annual return, inform us of any changes to the business and may also be required to provide us with an accounting report. We supervise our firms to make sure they actively prevent money laundering.
What if something goes wrong?
You can be confident that if something goes wrong our firms will work with you and try to put it right.
Every firm must:
- have a clear and effective process for handling complaints about the service provided;
- have ‘professional indemnity insurance’ in place to insure against the risk of mistakes being made in your case; and
- contribute to a ‘compensation scheme’ operated by CILEx Regulation to compensate clients in the unlikely event of their lawyer dishonestly taking their money or failing to give it back.
More information on complaints handling, insurance and the compensation arrangements can be found below and in the more in-depth pages linked to.
Each CILEx Authorised Entity must provide you with clear details about how it deals with complaints. We review their complaints procedure annually and monitor closely the number of complaints they receive. This helps us ensure that a good service is provided and maintained.
You can find out more on our Complaints page.
Each CILEx Authorised Entity must have adequate insurance (known as Professional Indemnity Insurance or PII) in place. The insurance is intended to pay out to a client if they suffer a loss as a result of a mistake by a firm in their legal case. This insurance seeks to ensure that you do not lose out financially if the firm makes a mistake. This protection applies to all legal services provided by the firm.
Our firms have to provide you with information about the insurance they have. They must tell you the amount, the insurers name and their contact details. This information must be easily available to you either:
- At their office.
- Electronically (for example, on their website) or
- In any letter setting out the service they provide.
You can find out more on our Professional Indemnity Insurance page.
We have also set up Compensation Arrangements because not all losses can be insured against with a professional indemnity insurance policy.
For this reason a separate scheme is in place to compensate clients who suffer financial losses as a result of a firm dishonestly taking or misusing client money. Payments under the scheme are discretionary and subject to meeting certain criteria.
This protection is only in place where the type of work being done by the firm is in an area of law for which the firm is authorised by us to work. For example, clients of a firm which is authorised by us to offer conveyancing services would be entitled to claim under the compensation arrangements in appropriate cases for a problem arising from a house purchase but not in connection with a will. You can check what legal services each CILEx Authorised Entity is authorised to provide in the directory of firms.
In some situations, firms may have been regulated by a different regulator in the past. Where the event giving rise to a claim happened under that previous regulator, a claim against the CILEx Regulation compensation arrangements will not be possible.
Consumers should first read our guide, Accessing the Compensation Arrangements, to understand if they may be entitled to a payment under the scheme. This sets out whether they may be able to make a claim, the process they will need to follow and provides links to further guidance and rules that may impact on their eligibility.
If you are in any way concerned that someone in a firm may be acting dishonestly or taking someone’s money then it is very important that you contact us immediately. In appropriate cases CILEx Regulation has the power to close down a CILEx Authorised Entity to stop money from being taken. It is at this stage that we would ordinarily expect claims to be made under the compensation scheme.
If you require more information about the Compensation Arrangements, you should contact us at email@example.com