The Institute of Paralegals

What is the IoP?

The Institute of Paralegals is a professional membership body that connects people who provide professional legal services.

Founded in 2003, we’re the only government recognised professional body for paralegals (in England and Wales), having received institute status, and the leading authority on the development and standing of paralegals in England and Wales.

Paralegals are vital for the overall growth of the legal services market. We take a specialist approach to training and enhancing the careers of paralegals, which means that paralegals can become qualified in a relatively short period of time, as they focus on one area of law.

Professional paralegals regulated by the PPR make up the fourth arm of the legal profession.

How does the IoP set standards?

The IoP sets standards of professional membership. This includes strict joining criteria, a code of conduct and competency standards.

We publish the competency standards for the paralegal profession, which are mapped to the national occupational standards for legal services (NOS).

Our education and training network enables providers of paralegal qualifications to apply for approved status, and this demonstrates that they meet the standards we set.

Committing to regulation

Paralegals who work in the unregulated sector, that is, those working outside of regulated entities, such as solicitor firms, are currently not regulated by the Legal Services Board (see here for exceptions).

The IoP is one of the founding members of the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR), which is the voluntary regulatory scheme for Paralegals in England and Wales. The PPR regulates paralegals who are members of the PPR and hold a paralegal practising certificate.

The IoP is committed to external, independent regulation, and doesn’t believe that self-regulation by representative bodies can ever protect consumers by providing real redress – it merely protects the reputation of the representative body. Having a compensation scheme-backed regulator should be a must for both paralegals and potential clients/consumers.

To find out more about the Institute of Paralegals, or membership, or the PPR, go to

About the author

Rita Leat is the chief executive of the Institute of Paralegals. Rita has more than 25 years’ experience in the sector, and is often referred to as the chief executive of ‘all things paralegal'. She is a member of the Attorney General’s Public Education Committee and speaks at conferences across the UK.