“A little less regulation, a little more action, please…”

The Solicitors Regulation Authority confirmed in a press release on 1 July 2024 that its Board has accepted a request from The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) to regulate its members; if this occurs, this would mean separate regulation of CILEx members would be No More.

While this discussion is by no means a new one, given that the initial request from CILEx was discussed by the SRA as early as October 2022, the decision to formally announce that the process to regulate CILEx members has begun has left legal professionals All Shook Up.

The SRA state that the current regulatory landscape for England and Wales is “ complex and fragmented” and that this Trouble can be “confusing and difficult for people to navigate”. They cite the costs of having various different regulators and the regulatory overlap that exists in the current systems. Given the apparent overlap between them, there is a view amongst some practitioners that one regulator steps on the (blue suede) shoes of the other. The SRA make the case that this proposal would simplify the system and would benefit both the professionals and public who engage with the SRA.

The move has faced considerable opposition from various important stakeholders in this decision; it would be fair to say there are a number of Suspicious Minds regarding the proposals.

CILEx Regulation, the current CILEx regulator, has expressed concern that there is no evidence to show that either professionals or the public would benefit from the move. They indicate that potential legal action could be taken to thwart any future changes.

The Law Society, whose approval would be needed for any change, via its CEO Ian Jeffrey, has expressed deep concerns over the proposed move; they seemingly Don't want it to come to fruition. The press release from the Law Society dated 2 July 2024 analyses the proposition and concludes that the case has not been properly made out by the SRA that there would be tangible benefit to approving this ground-breaking amendment to the legal landscape in England and Wales.

For now, all eyes are on the Law Society, CILEx Regulator and the SRA to see if this proposal has any future, or if it proves Too Much for all stakeholders to reach a consensus.

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