NALP & Professional Paralegal Register (PPR) -

Information for NALP members and why as AH Paralegal students you should join NALP as a member

IN 2013, NALP, in partnership with IoP (Institute of Paralegals) worked to develop a single voluntary register to enhance the professionalisation of the Paralegal Sector.

During this time, meetings were had and presentations were made to all the legal regulatory and membership bodies including: The Legal Services Board, The Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Bar Standards Board, ILEX Professional Standards, the Law Society and the Bar Council.

Meetings were had also with other important stakeholders within the legal sector such as: The Institute of Will Writers, The Legal Services Consumer Panel, The Legal Ombudsman, and McKenzie Friends organisations to name just a few.

All these key organisations have been supportive of the creation of such a register which was launched in December 2014 and went live in July of 2015. See the launch film

 

So why have we done this, and more importantly, how does this affect you and why you should apply for membership of NALP?

There are several factors that have driven this initiative forward:

  1. The Legal Services Act 2007, the primary objective of which was to open up the legal services sector making legal services more accessible and less costly to the consumer.
  2. Recommendations made in the LETR (Legal Education & Training Review) published in June 2013:'Recommendation 23: Consideration should be given by the Legal Services Board and representative bodies to the role of voluntary quality schemes in assuring the standards of independent paralegal providers outside the existing scheme of regulation. The Legal Services Board may wish to consider this issue as part of its work on the reservation and regulation of general legal advice.'
  3. The virtual eradication of Legal Aid.
  4. The growth of the Paralegal Sector which is unregulated, and which has an estimated 200,000 paralegals working currently in England & Wales alone.
  5. The protection of the consumer. With no regulation of the Paralegal sector anyone can describe themselves as a paralegal whether they have experience or qualifications or not. The Register will promote an effective way of discouraging poor or unprofessional services to the consumer

What this means for you?

  1. The PPR will be the voluntary regulatory mechanism for the unregulated Professional Paralegal Sector ensuring that standards are upheld.
  2. If you are a current member of NALP you will be eligible to join the PPR (annual renewal of NALP is required to sustain your registration on the PPR)
  3. Your details including your specialisation can be available through the PPR website for a prospective employer and or consumer to search and contact you directly if they require your services (similar to the way you can search for a solicitor through the Law Society website)
  4. Membership of the PPR will improve your ability to gain employment or work and can be your marketing tool.
  5. Membership of the PPR will enhance your professional status and give you benefits such as reasonable PII rates, and free legal updates in your chosen area of law
  6. There will be various membership tiers on the register dependent on how qualified or how much experience you have
  7. It is expected that over time, membership of the PPR will prove to be a form of regulation whereby any prospective employer/consumer will not consider using the services of a paralegal who is not registered.