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1 INTRODUCTION


IPS investigates complaints and allegations of misconduct made against CILEx members. These may be made by clients, third parties or other bodies, or be referrals from CILEx in respect of members who fail to comply with CILEx or IPS regulations, such as the examination regulations and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) regulations.


IPS is also responsible for receiving prior conduct declarations made by members and applicants wishing to become members of CILEx and determining what, if any, action to take. Members are required to make declarations in respect of convictions, cautions, bankruptcy, County Court Judgments, arrangements with creditors, and disciplinary orders made against them by other professional bodies.


Complaints, allegations of misconduct and prior conduct declarations are investigated and dealt with in accordance with the rules set out in the IDAR 2010.


All members must comply with the CILEx Code of Conduct, which includes the obligation to comply with CILEx rules, bye- laws and regulations. In addition members must observe other codes applicable to their employment. Chartered Legal Executive Advocates must also comply with the Rights of Audience Conduct Rules. The conduct of members is measured against the Code of Conduct.


There are three IPS panels which consider the conduct of members: the Professional Conduct Panel, Disciplinary Tribunal and Appeals Panel. This report considers the work of these panels during the 2014 calendar year.


2 PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT PANEL (PCP)


The PCP is responsible for considering prior conduct declarations made by members of CILEx and by applicants seeking to join CILEx. The PCP also considers complaints or allegations of misconduct made against members.


The IDAR distinguish between complaints and allegations of misconduct, and prior conduct matters. The IDAR set out the procedures to be followed by the PCP and the powers available to it. The PCP sits as a panel of three, with a majority of lay members. One member will be a Fellow of CILEx. The panel members must declare all conflicts of interest. No panellist of the PCP may be a member of CILEx Council or the IPS Board.


Where a prior conduct declaration is made the PCP determines whether or not to accept that person’s application to join CILEx or, subsequently where they are already a member, what action to take in respect of that membership. The IDAR allow for decisions about certain types of prior conduct matters to be delegated to an Officer of IPS. These decisions are reported to the PCP.


Where a complaint or allegation of misconduct is made against a member the PCP is responsible for determining whether a prima facie case of misconduct exists. Where there is a prima facie case, the PCP may in some circumstances make a referral to the Disciplinary Tribunal. Where a referral is not considered necessary, the PCP will reach a determination as to whether the allegation is proved on the balance of probabilities on the evidence before it.


26 Professional standards for specialist lawyers


Where it finds an allegation proved, the PCP may: • take no further action;


• reprimand or warn the member or both; • require the member to give an undertaking as to their future conduct;


• impose conditions on a member in respect of their conduct or employment.


The IDAR allow for delegated decisions to be made in the following instances: • to reject a complaint or allegation of misconduct where IPS has no jurisdiction;


• to enter into a determination by consent; and • to refer serious cases directly to the Disciplinary Tribunal.


The delegated powers can be exercised by an Officer of IPS with the agreement of a lay and a professional member of the PCP.


The PCP has the power to consider whether to impose an interim suspension order, on its own motion or on the application of IPS, where a member’s conduct has been referred to the Disciplinary Tribunal. Such an order suspends the member’s membership of CILEx pending a hearing before the Disciplinary Tribunal. The member is no longer able to practise as a Chartered Legal Executive or hold themselves out to be a CILEx member.


2.1 Complaints and Allegations of Misconduct


In 2014 the PCP considered a total of 15 cases where complaints or allegations of misconduct had been made against CILEx members, and endorsed 6 delegated decisions. The following analysis was carried out of these cases: • in 6 cases, the Panel found there was no prima facie case to support the allegation and rejected it;


• in 6 cases, the Panel found there was a prima facie case which warranted a referral to the Disciplinary Tribunal;


• in the remaining 3 cases, the Panel found the allegation was proved on the balance of probabilities and used its own disciplinary powers: - in 1 case, the Panel decided to take no further action; - in 1 case, the member was reprimanded for their conduct; and


- in 1 case, the Panel ordered the member to give undertakings.


Of the 15 complaints considered, no complaints were made by clients, 10 were complaints made by third parties. 2 cases were as a result of declarations of prior conduct, 1 referral related to failure to comply with CILEx regulations. 2 cases were brought by IPS as a result of information received.


The office has power to make decisions in limited circumstances with the Panel’s approval. The Panel approved 6 delegated decisions, details of which are set out at section 2.2. 4 of those decisions were approval of determinations by consent and 2 were referrals of the member’s conduct to the Disciplinary Tribunal without a meeting of the PCP. Therefore in total the Panel considered 21 cases.


IPS also investigated 4 complaints which were then withdrawn or closed due to non-engagement by the complainant. These investigations were conducted for between 4 and 9 months.


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