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ANNEX 2


ANNUAL REPORT OF THE PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT PANEL, DISCIPLINARY TRIBUNAL AND APPEALS PANEL 2014


PREFACE The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) is designated as an Approved Regulator under the Legal Services Act 2007. CILEx has delegated its regulatory activities to its subsidiary company, ILEX Professional Standards Limited (IPS). Amongst other areas of activity, IPS is responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct made against CILEx members and determining what, if any, action should be taken as a result of proven misconduct. IPS is also responsible for considering declarations of prior conduct made by applicants for membership and members, of CILEx.


In 2014 the Fitness to Practise Procedures Manual (FTPP) which was produced in 2012, has been rewritten to reflect the new Investigation Disciplinary and Appeals Rules (IDAR) 2015. The FTPP now called the IDAR Handbook is a public facing document available to download from the website and provides a transparent view of IPS and its investigation and disciplinary procedures. The IDAR Handbook has been updated to ensure that it will remain a document that can be accessed by all.


During 2014 IPS has revised the supporting policies to the IDAR; this includes the fines policy. At the start of the year IPS consulted on the proposals to change the fine levels and as a result changes were made to the levels. The levels of fines have been approved by the Legal Services Board as at 19 December 2014.


IPS has also updated its Archive and Data Protection Policy which will be available as a downloadable document to provide clarity on how IPS deals with data at all stages of investigations and prior conduct declarations. These two policies also reflect how IPS will deal with data from 2015 in regard to investigations into CILEx Practitioners and Authorised Entities and fitness to own declarations.


As part of IPS’ policy work into the impact of Equality and Diversity within IPS’ regulated community IPS reviewed the report of Professor Gus John entitled, ‘Independent comparative case review, the Solicitors Regulatory Authority’ (Report). The Report was to identify how to protect against disproportionate regulatory outcomes for BME lawyers. IPS has been able to identify key findings of the Report and to consider its impact on IPS. A number of action points have been identified some of which IPS has already implemented; the remainder will be implemented in 2015 and/or developed for implementation in 2015.


Under the new IDAR 2015 there are three complaints handling and disciplinary panels. New panel members have been recruited to fill new vacancies and those of retiring panellists. The recruitment of clerks to the individual disciplinary panels concluded in late November 2014 and their roles begin from January 2015. Panellists and Clerks received training in 2014 on the new IDAR 2015 and Code of Conduct. Feedback was obtained and overall the training was received positively. IPS continues to appraise panellists as introduced in 2011.The appraisal programme for 2014 panellists will conclude early in 2015.


Work continues on improving governance of the Investigation Team, including assessing and analysing the cost of regulation, to ensure future accountability is maintained.


Panellists, clerks and staff continue to work diligently, and have done so with increasing flexibility this year to deliver IPS’ regulatory objectives in the disposal of fitness to practice cases.


IAN CHIVERS ENFORCEMENT


Professional standards for specialist lawyers 25


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