Powers of the Conduct Panel

Disciplinary powers

The Investigation, Disciplinary and Appeals Rules (IDAR) are the rules that CILEx Regulation follow when investigating complaints. There is a handbook that 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

We will investigate the allegation and will liaise with the Compliance Manager of your entity about the complaint. 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 is made up of two independent lay members and one professional CILEx member. The meeting is independently clerked. The PCP has the power to do the following:
  • decide there is no case to answer and reject the complaint
  • decide there is a case to answer and either: 
i) refer the case to DT or
ii) if you as the Compliance Manager admit the misconduct, and it is appropriate to do so in the circumstances, with your consent the matter can be concluded by deciding to:
  • to impose conditions in relation to your future conduct or if you are an individual, on your employment.
  • to require you to give undertakings in relation to your future conduct.
  • to reprimand and/or warm you. 
The PCP also have 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 for the protection of the public while you are waiting for your matter to be heard before the Disciplinary Tribunal (DT). The PCP can either:
  • suspend your membership or authorisation; or.
  • impose restrictions on you as the PCP considers appropriate.

If an interim order is imposed the PCP may also require you or an Approved Manager of your entity to enter into a Practice Management Agreement. This will either be to close or manage your entity for the protection of clients.

Decisions in certain cases

In some cases CILEx Regulation will be able to make a decision about a complaint made against you without referral to the PCP. The types of cases include:

  • Rejecting a complaint where CILEx Regulation has no jurisdiction or there is insufficient evidence.
  • Entering into a determination by consent with you, if you have accepted misconduct and a penalty.
  • Referring very serious cases directly to the Disciplinary Tribunal (DT).

Disciplinary Tribunal  

The Disciplinary Tribunal sit 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 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.

The DT will decide whether the charges against you have been proved. If they are the DT has the power to:

  • impose conditions in relation to your future conduct or, if you are an individual, on your employment
  • require you to give undertakings in relation to your future conduct
  • reprimand and/or warn you
  • exclude you from membership or authorisation. 
In addition your entity or person at your entity 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 your Authorised Entities turnover or up to £250 million whichever is greater;
  • costs of the case.
Where the decision is to withdraw authorisation from your entity the DT may require you to enter into a Practice Management Agreement to close or manage the entity. Details about Practice Management Agreements can be found here.

You will have an opportunity to present mitigation and evidence of means of your entity to the Tribunal, before it decides on sanction.

Adjournments 

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.  Further 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 LeO who can award compensation where your entity has provided poor service to clients.

Anyone affected by the dishonest conduct of your entity, however, may apply to the CILEx Compensation Fund for redress. Details can be found here.

Sanctions guidance

CILEx Regulation has developed sanctions guidance which is contained in 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 Handbook under Rule 34.

Publication

All 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.  Decisions may be published in other publications and employers are informed, where appropriate.