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First female Chartered Legal Executive appointed to Judiciary


Chartered Legal Executive Elizabeth Johnson has become the first female holding the post to be appointed to the Judiciary, having been assigned to the Social Entitlement Chamber as a Fee-paid Judge of the First-tier Tribunal.


Ms Johnson is a Chartered Legal Executive and Associate in the Exeter office of law firm Ashfords LLP. Her appointment to the Judiciary was effective as of 25 January 2019 and she is likely to preside over her first hearing in March.


Ashfords said that Ms Johnson works as a personal injury specialist and has more than 20 years’ experience in all aspects of injury, insurance and liability claims. She will continue to work at the firm.


She qualified with the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) in1998, working for Beachcrofts before joining Ashfords LLP in 2011.


In 2017, she took part in CILEx’s Judicial Development Programme, aimed at providing members with information, support, training, mentoring and encouragement when preparing to make their application for a Judicial appointment.


CILEx President Philip Sherwood said:


“There is currently considerable under-representation of women and ethnic minorities in our Judiciary – this urgently needs to change to ensure the Judiciary better reflects the society it serves.


“Elizabeth’s appointment sends a message to our members – seventy-five percent of whom are women – that the Judiciary is a potential career path for them.”


CILEx added that the appointment comes at a time when the Institute is pushing for Chartered Legal Executives to be allowed to apply to all levels of the Judiciary. Currently, they are unable to apply for posts higher than District Judge. There are two other Chartered Legal Executives sitting as Judges, as well as a number of solicitors who initially qualified as Chartered Legal Executives, said CILEx.


Commenting on her appointment, Elizabeth Johnson said:


“I am very excited to be appointed as a Judge – and to be the first female CILEx Judge is a real honour.


“While the application process is tough, I have demonstrated that, with the right skills and expertise, it is achievable. I hope that my appointment will encourage more Chartered Legal Executives – and women – to apply for judicial office.


“I wasn’t aware that Chartered Legal Executives could apply to the Judiciary until I heard about CILEx’s training programme,” she added.


“The support from CILEx meant I benefited from expert advice on how to complete competency-based applications and mentoring from CILEx-qualified District Judge Stephen Nicholls. This support was invaluable in giving me the knowledge and confidence to go ahead.”


The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) is one of the three main professional bodies covering the legal profession in England and Wales – the 20,000-strong membership comprises Chartered Legal Executives, paralegals and other legal professionals and is the only regulator covering paralegals.



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