So, what exactly is a Chartered Legal Executive?

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Who are BL Claims Solicitors

BL Claims Solicitors specialise in personal injury, clinical negligence and travel claims, providing our clients with hands-on support, nationally.

We are rated as one of the top firms in the UK and believe in speaking to our clients in jargon-free language and ensuring you're speaking to a highly qualified lawyer right from the outset

The Institute of Chartered Legal Executives definition is "A Chartered Legal Executive is a lawyer who has followed one the prescribed routes to qualification set out by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX)".

I am a Fellow, and before you snigger into your coffee that doesn't mean I am a man, but rather I am a qualified lawyer.  Only fellows of ILEX can hold themselves out as Chartered Legal Executives.  This means I can commission oaths, take affidavits and can appear in certain courts.  If I wish to appear in higher courts I can but only after I have taken a separate qualification to become a Chartered Legal Executive Advocate.  This is the equivalent to Higher Rights of Audience exams that solicitors have to take if they want to do the same. A Chartered Legal Executive can become a partner in a law firm or become a senior member of staff or department head.  Fellows of five or more years qualified are also eligible to apply to become District Judges.

So, what is the difference between a Solicitor and a Chartered Legal Executive?  The main difference is the training required.  Chartered Legal Executives study to the same level as solicitors but study fewer subjects overall.  Solicitors undergo the Legal Practice Course which includes a number of compulsory legal practice subjects.  Chartered Legal Executives study one legal practice subject at an advanced level and this is the area in which they specialise.

People also confuse Chartered Legal Executives with paralegals.  A Chartered Legal Executive is a qualified lawyer, regulated by a professional body and with rights to partnerships in law firms and to judicial appointment.  The term paralegal refers to a wide range of personnel working in a legal environment.  Such personnel can range from a legal secretary who has undertaken some training in aspects of legal practice, through to law graduates who have not completed a training route to become a qualified lawyer or indeed someone who has no formal legal training at all but who has gained experience by working in a law firm. I hope that answers the question as to what I do and who I am in my role as a Chartered Legal Executive.  You may now be wondering why we are needed and how we came to be about.  Interested?  Well, settle down, grab a biscuit to dunk in your coffee and I shall begin...

It is believed that the role of a Legal Executive evolved from the 19th century managing clerk.  In the 19th century solicitor firms grew and relied on law clerks for drafting and organising documents.  The clerks soon became knowledgeable about the law and were allowed to manage their fellow clerks, hence the term managing clerks.  On the 1950's and 1960's England suffered a shortage of solicitors when growth exceeded the number of entrants into the profession.  The Law Society recognised something needed to be done to improve the availability of legal services and commenced a recruitment campaign aimed at young people to choose law as a career.  Part of this recruitment drive was to turn the managing clerk into a legal profession of its own and ILEX was created in 1963.  This swiftly followed a change of title to Legal Executive.  On the 13th October 2011, fellows of the Institute of Legal Executives who were in practice and holding a valid practising certificate became Chartered Legal Executives following a royal charter from the Queen.

Legal Executives not only exist in the UK but are also represented in one guise or another in Australia, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland and New Zealand.

For further information, please contact Karen Thompson, a Legal Executive in our Personal Injury team, on 023 8085 7344 or at

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If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at