What is the Paralegal Regulator?

The Professional Paralegal Register (PPR) is the overarching voluntary regulator for Paralegals in England and Wales. The register is more than a list. It shows that the professionals on it are properly trained and qualified and meet the PPR’s standards.

As a regulator the PPR does five things:

• Sets the standards of competence and conduct that Paralegals must meet to be registered and/or fully regulated to enable them to hold Paralegal Practising Certificates

• Works with the professional institute for Paralegals on the quality of education and training courses to make sure they give students the skills and knowledge to practise competently

• Maintains a register that everyone can search

• Investigates complaints about people on our register and decides if they should be allowed to continue to practise or should be struck off the register; either because of problems with their conduct or their competence.

• Operate a compensation fund for consumers in certain circumstances

Who are Paralegals?

Professional Paralegals are people who are qualified and have the requisite skills and experience to deliver a range of legal services. Paralegals make up the largest and most diverse group in the legal services sector. The legal profession could not operate without Paralegals and indeed every business sector has Paralegals.

What is the role of Paralegals?

Paralegals work across every area of the law and in areas of practice that require the knowledge of legal procedure and practice. Two of the founding members of the PPR are the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and the Association of Probate Researchers (APR). Both organisations have members that are regulated by the PPR.

As we can see, the scope of the Paralegal role is widening, and Probate Research Professionals can now reach the standard set by the PPR through the APR.

Probate Researchers can become qualified Professional Paralegals, holding Paralegal Practising Certificates to ensure that their clients are fully protected. Professional probate researchers need to meet this standard set by the PPR to ensure that they are recognised and independently regulated.

We would encourage all probate research companies to join the APR as regulation of legal services is undergoing a review and it would be wise to ensure that the requisite standards are met. F

Fraser and Fraser, Treethorpe and Anglia Research are all members of the APR.

What do you mean by ‘Independent Regulation’?

Legal service providers should all be subject to independent regulation to ensure consumer protection. Many professional bodies ‘self-regulate’ but unless there is an independent regulator overseeing complaints that are not dealt with to the satisfaction of the consumer by the professional body, then the regulation is of no real use.

The Institute of Paralegals, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Association of Probate Researchers are leading the way in ensuring that their members are meeting the highest standards of the PPR and are prepared to be held to account if they fail.

By Rita Leat, Managing Director PPR. Rita took up the post of Managing Director of the PPR in November 2015 and continues that role on a pro-bono basis. For more information about regulation contact rita.leat@ppr.org.uk