An order of Parliament gives us the power to seek a Court Order for intervention. This Court Order gives us the power to close down an entity. An intervention is designed to protect clients' interests and client money. We will only carry out an intervention into an entity where we feel it is necessary to do so in the interest of the public.
The effects of an intervention are:
- that your authorisation as an authorised entity will be revoked, meaning that you will no longer be able to provide legal services;
- the money held by your practice will vest in us;
- we will take possession of the your entity’s documents, including client papers.
When does CILEx Regulation intervene?
CILEx has delegated powers to CILEx Regulation to carry out an intervention where:
- there are grounds to intervene, and
- an intervention is necessary to protect the public.
Powers for intervention
The powers for intervention are set out in articles 3 and 4 of the Legal Services Act 2007 (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) (Modification of Functions) Order 2014.
The intervention process
We will appoint an intervention agent to carry out the intervention work on our behalf. The agent will not take over the management and running of client matters and will not take over your practice. Their aim is to manage the closure of your practice.
The agent will meet you, at your practice address, on the day of the intervention. They will be accompanied by one of our officers who will explain that:
The intervention agent will identify:
- all files, papers, records and monies of your entity vest in us except for purely administrative papers, e.g. PAYE records, VAT returns; and
- you have a right to contest the intervention
The agent will remove all papers, schedule them, and distribute them in accordance with client instructions.
- urgent client matters requiring immediate attention,
- the accounts system used by your entity,
- practice monies held by your entity,
- client papers held by your entity,
- deeds/will stores held by your entity,
- archived files held by your entity.
Contesting an intervention
If we have obtained an intervention Court Order, you have a right to apply to the High Court for the intervention to be withdrawn. You may wish to seek legal advice on making such an application.
You can do this by applying to the High Court within eight days of service of our intervention notice on you. You must give us and the intervention agent notice in writing of your application.
The application itself will not stay the intervention.
What happens to client monies after an intervention?
Following an intervention we will hold (on statutory trust) any monies held by your practice. The intervention agent will try to identify anyone with a beneficial entitlement to the money and distribute it to them.
If your clients are unable to wait for the distribution of money held on trust they may claim on The CILEx Compensation Fund. If a grant is made to a client out of The CILEx Compensation Fund, the fund may then be entitled to the money held in the statutory trust account for that client up to the amount paid out by the fund. In this case, the money from the trust account is offset against the amount owed by you.
The CILEx Compensation Fund will also be entitled to make a claim against your entity for any money it cannot recover out of the money held on statutory trust.
If your practice is intervened into you will be personally liable for the costs of the intervention and such costs will be recoverable from you as a debt.
The intervention agent will send us invoices as he or she incurs costs for the intervention work. We will approve each invoice before paying it and send a copy to you to seek re-imbursement.
When you receive the first invoice, we will ask you for your proposals to settle the debt. The debt continues to increase as we receive and pay invoices from the intervention agent. We will keep you informed of all costs incurred.
We can pass a resolution to vest in us any rights you have to pursue debts owed to your entity or raise bills. In other cases, you can raise bills and pursue outstanding costs due to your practice. Any money you recover vests in us and offsets your debt to us.
Ways to settle your debt
You can settle the debt:
- in one lump sum; or
- by instalments, with our agreement.
Payment can be made:
- by credit card; or
- if paying instalments, by standing order.
If we do not receive satisfactory proposals from you, we will take enforcement action to recover the costs.