Regulation highlights

David Pope highlights miscellaneous topical regulatory issues.

First-tier complaints handling: changes to guidance

Our First tier complaints handling guidance now incorporates signposting to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) and to CILEx Regulation, with the appropriate timescales, within one document as well as setting out the requirements for alternative dispute resolution. A table sets out the information our members will need to signpost clients to, depending on whether they are employed in a regulated firm, working in their own firm or a CILEx Authorised Entity.

LeO has published its own signposting pack to help lawyers, which is available from its website. At CILEx Regulation, we recommend using the information available on the LeO website to assist you in managing complaints.

LeO issued new guidance for first-time buyers in January, which outlined the responsibilities a lawyer has during the conveyancing process. On the move: a guide for first time buyers can be found on the LeO website. Making use of this guide should help inform clients and, hopefully, reduce any complaints.

Data protection: registering to protect your data

Whilst high-profile cases relating to personal information make the news, anyone who processes data relating to individuals is at risk if they do not look after it properly. The sole practitioner offering will writing and the multi-national firm will both have obligations to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, because a failure to do so may constitute a criminal offence. With financial penalties of up to £500,000, getting this right is very important.

You must not process personal data until you have provided the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) with:

  • your name and address;
  • a description of the personal data you will hold;
  • the purposes for which the data is being processed; and
  • a general description of the security measures you will take to protect personal data.

This information is then entered into the Register of Data Controllers. The register, further information, form templates and guides are available on the ICO website. Please make sure that you understand your obligations.

What’s in a title? Correctly informing the public

As it is now over two years since our change of name, we would expect all members to be referring correctly to ‘CILEx Regulation’ within all their business communications. This should include any websites or social media that you use, together with all entries on third party sites such as business directories.

Unfortunately, we also still continue to see designatory letters that are incorrect, for example, F.Inst.L.Ex, FILEx or GCILEX. The letters that you should use can be found on the CILEx website under ‘Getting Qualified: Membership grades and fees’.

Please can you check your details on all your business communications, and on your firm’s website, so that the public is receiving the correct information about your membership of CILEx.

Risk management

Communicating information on risks is vitally important in helping our members, those non-members who hold practice rights, and our entities to mitigate risks. We have put together a suite of papers covering some of the main risks that you will see on a day-to-day basis in running your firm. They highlight the benefits of putting in place policies and procedures to address these risks, and where to find additional support and help.

The most recent of these papers is ‘Client Care Letters – Key Principles’,which gives pointers to the style in which consumers like to receive their client care information. They can be found on the CILEx Regulation website under ‘Risk Management’.


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