The Department for Education has announced that CILEX (the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) apprenticeships will receive the same level of funding as solicitor apprenticeships.
The funding uplift sees parity of funding between apprentices qualifying as solicitors and those qualifying as CILEX Lawyers, for the first time.
Employers will now be able to use their apprenticeship levy for to cover all stages of qualifying as a CILEX Lawyer, including practice rights and advocacy training.
As a pioneer of the non-university route into law, CILEX has been delivering apprenticeships through CILEX Law School (CLS) for the last ten years and in 2021 launched the CILEX Professional Qualification (CPQ), a new approach to on-the-job training, marrying legal knowledge with the practical skills, behaviours and commercial awareness needed by lawyers in the 2020s.
Those completing CILEX Lawyer apprenticeships will graduate with the CPQ and will receive regulatory authorisation as Chartered Legal Executives as well as practice rights enabling them to practise independently in their specialist areas as CILEX Lawyers, with parity to solicitors.
The new apprenticeships create a progressive career pathway aligned to CILEX Paralegal and CILEX Lawyer status within CILEX. For those studying on the two-year Level 3 Paralegal or Business Administration apprenticeships there is flexibility to pursue a paralegal career or to continue to study, progressing all the way to CILEX Lawyer.
Trainee CILEX Lawyer apprentices will have the opportunity to follow non-contentious (L6) pathways specialising in areas such as conveyancing, probate and immigration, or take the contentious (Level 7) route leading to qualification with civil, family or criminal litigation and advocacy rights.
This is the latest in a raft of developments that have seen CILEX achieve legislative and policy changes that remove barriers and secure equality of opportunity for its members.
On 28 June 2023, the Judicial Appointments (Amendment) Order was enacted by the Lord Chancellor following parliamentary approval, opening up more senior judicial roles to CILEX Lawyers. The Powers of Attorney Bill, containing changes permitting CILEX Lawyers to certify copies of Powers of Attorney, is currently making its way through Parliament.
CILEX has also secured support in principle to making legislative and policy changes to enable CILEX Lawyers to become Crown Prosecutors and government agreement to widen access to the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme to remove barriers preventing CILEX qualified criminal practitioners from becoming police station duty lawyers.
CILEX Chair, Professor Chris Bones says: “Achieving the same level of funding for CILEX apprenticeships as enjoyed by their solicitor counterparts is a significant milestone for CILEX and recognition that the CILEX route to becoming a specialist lawyer is an equally valid pathway and a vital part of creating a modern, diverse and competitive legal sector.
“Ensuring equality of opportunity for CILEX Lawyers and removing barriers to their career development is central to our commitment to both our members and the wider justice system. This year we have seen rapid progress in this regard, with government recognition of the important role CILEX members play in the delivery of legal services demonstrated by their commitment to prioritising the legislative reforms needed to open up senior judicial positions to CILEX Lawyers and to iron out anomalies preventing members from being able to certify copies of Powers of Attorney.”
Employers interested in finding out more about apprenticeship changes and funding should visit the CILEX website.