Consumers in England and Wales Will Benefit From A Voluntary Registered Scheme for Paralegals

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The Professional Paralegal Register (PPR), a voluntary register for paralegals in England and Wales, will see paralegals come under voluntary regulation for the first time. The register will provide protection for consumers and reassure consumers that legal work carried out by paralegals will be of the highest quality, at a reasonable cost.

Following the launch of the Professional Paralegal Register in the House of Lords last December, the Directors have announced that it will go live for paralegals, consumers and employers to use from Monday 6th July. The PPR, which has been created by the National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP) and the Institute of Paralegals (IoP), will enable paralegals who meet the highest of standards to be recognised for their professional work and become regulated. This will ensure that there are real options for consumers with complaints to get compensation should something go wrong.

The PPR is governed by the Register Regulatory Committee (RRC) and is assisted by an Independent Advisory Board, consisting of industry professionals. This advisory board has been formed to oversee the work of the PPR and advise the RRC on both strategic and operational activity.

Chris White, founder of Aspiring Solicitors, and the Chairman of the Advisory Board. Chris has accumulated over 9 years’ experience working alongside aspiring solicitors, assisting them with their careers.

Chris commented:

“I am honoured to be the Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Professional Paralegal Register.  The Advisory Board comprises of industry experts across a broad spectrum of experiences and roles to ensure good practices in governance. We are all extremely excited about the launch of the PPR and strongly believe that the launch will herald a new dawn for the thousands of current and future consumers. The PPR will not only seek to protect consumers, but importantly it will reward and recognise the efforts of all paralegals as they gain greater experience and knowledge in their respective fields.  

“I am also grateful to be working so closely with a receptive board of directors whose genuine interest lies in improving the landscape and environment for individual paralegals and the organisations who utilise their services. The regulation of paralegals is essential for so many reasons and I am confident, with the assistance of the members of the advisory board, that we will work successfully alongside the Board of Directors to ensure the PPR delivers on all of its objectives and goals.”

Espe Fuentes has been Head of Legal Operations at Which? Legal since 2006 and has been announced as a patron of the PPR. Espe’s work currently covers a wide variety of consumer and employment law, whilst her past experience has included commercial and criminal law.

Espe commented:

“I am delighted to be a Patron of the PPR as it will provide a greater access to justice for consumers and will clarify what a paralegal can do in a way that consumers can understand. For the first time Paralegals will be regulated by one organisation, albeit on a voluntary basis, with sanctions in place to help protect the consumer against bad practice or poor service.”

Professor Julian Webb, Professor at the Melbourne Law School, who has also been announced as a patron of the PPR, has an expansive career in the legal sector. Julian’s past credentials include being the Director of the UK Centre for Legal Education between 2006 and 2011, as well as being the lead author of ‘Setting Standards’ in 2013.

Julian commented:

“I’m delighted that the NALP and IoP have come together to take the lead on this initiative. It has the potential, I believe, to make an important contribution to the assuring of standards outside the currently regulated legal professions, and to enhancing consumer access to legal services. As patron I hope to help promote the PPR and would encourage paralegals who are not operating in law firms to sign up, and for those seeking paralegal services, whether as employers or consumers, to use the Register as a search tool.”

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