Everything You Need To Know


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the CILEX Professional Qualification (CPQ).

If you’re considering a career in law but are looking for a flexible and practical route, CILEX CPQ might be just what you need.

This innovative qualification is designed to cater to a variety of career paths within the legal profession, offering a structured yet adaptable approach to learning.

In this post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about CPQ. We’ll cover its structure, the length of study, costs involved, and the many benefits it offers.

Whether you’re a school leaver, a career changer, or an existing legal professional aiming to advance your career, this guide will provide valuable insights into how CPQ can help you achieve your goals.

What is CILEX CPQ?

CILEX CPQ stands for Chartered Institute of Legal Executives Professional Qualification (a bit of a mouthful, hence the abbreviation!).

It’s a progressive, modular qualification designed to help you build a successful career in the legal profession. The CPQ is highly regarded in the legal sector for its practical focus and flexibility, making it an attractive option for many aspiring legal professionals.

Who is it for?

CPQ is ideal for anyone interested in law, whether you’re a school leaver, a career changer, or already working in the legal sector.

It’s especially beneficial for those who need to balance work, study, and personal commitments, as it allows you to learn at your own pace.

The qualification is structured to accommodate different entry points, so you can start at a level that matches your existing knowledge and experience.

What is CILEX CPQ?

The CPQ is designed to be accessible, with no need for a university degree to get started. This opens the door to a legal career for a diverse range of individuals, making the legal profession more inclusive.

By offering a practical and cost-effective route to legal qualification, CILEX CPQ provides a viable alternative to traditional university-based legal education.

Complete the CPQ with Astranti

Astranti CILEX CPQ Courses
Astranti has helped over 125,000 people get the qualifications they need to take their careers to the next step. Why not find out how we can help you, too?

How is the qualification structured?

Complete the CPQ with Astranti

Astranti CILEX CPQ Courses
Astranti has helped over 125,000 people get the qualifications they need to take their careers to the next step. Why not find out how we can help you, too?

How is the qualification structured?

The CPQ is divided into three key stages, each designed to develop your skills and knowledge progressively:

#1 – Foundation Stage:

This is the starting point, where you’ll gain a solid grounding in legal principles and practices. It includes core modules such as Introduction to Law and Practice, Contract Law, and Criminal Law. At this stage, you’ll learn the basics of legal research, client care, and professional ethics, which are essential for any legal career.

Learn more about this stage on our dedicated CPQ Foundation guide.

#2 – Advanced Stage:

Building on the foundation, this stage delves deeper into specific areas of law. Modules might include Employment Law, Family Law, and Civil Litigation. You’ll also start to develop more specialised skills relevant to your chosen area of practice.

This stage involves more complex assignments and assessments. You will be required to demonstrate your ability to apply legal knowledge in practical scenarios, enhancing your readiness for professional practice.

Read our CPQ Advanced guide for more details.

#3 – Professional Stage:

The final stage focuses on advanced legal practice and management skills, preparing you for senior roles. Modules at this level include Advocacy, Client Care Skills, and Legal Research. This stage aims to equip you with the expertise needed to manage cases, represent clients, and lead legal teams.

Assessments include written exams, practical assignments, and portfolio submissions, ensuring you not only understand the theory but can also apply your knowledge in real-world scenarios.

The CPQ’s modular structure allows you to progress through each stage at your own pace, fitting your studies around work and other commitments. This flexibility makes it an ideal choice for those who need to balance multiple responsibilities.

How long will it take to complete CILEX CPQ?

The length of study for the CILEX CPQ can vary based on individual circumstances, such as prior qualifications, work commitments, and the pace at which you choose to study.

But here’s a breakdown of the typical duration for each stage:

CILEX CPQ Length of study

#1 – Foundation Stage:

Generally takes around 18 to 24 months to complete. This stage is flexible, allowing you to balance your studies with work or other responsibilities. You can choose to study part-time or full-time, depending on your personal and professional commitments.

#2 – Advanced Stage:

Typically requires an additional 18 to 24 months. This stage involves more in-depth study and complex assessments, which might extend the time needed, especially if you’re balancing a full-time job alongside your studies.

#3 – Professional Stage:

Usually takes around 12 to 18 months. This final stage focuses on advanced skills and practical application, which may involve intensive study periods, particularly for those aiming to fast-track their qualification.

Overall, the entire CPQ can be completed in approximately 4 to 5 years if studied continuously.

However, the modular nature of the CPQ means you can take breaks between stages, making it possible to extend your study period if needed. This flexibility is one of the key advantages of the CILEX CPQ, allowing you to tailor your learning journey to fit your lifestyle and career goals.

What costs are involved?

The costs associated with the CILEX CPQ can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the level you’re starting at, the pace of your study, and additional expenses like books and exam fees.

Here’s a general overview of the costs involved:

Tuition fees

These vary depending on the training provider and the level of the CPQ you’re undertaking. On average, you might expect to pay around £1,500 to £2,500 per stage. Some providers offer payment plans to help spread the cost.

Additional costs

These can include textbooks, study materials, and exam fees. Textbooks might cost between £50 and £100 per module, while exam fees can range from £80 to £150 per paper. There may also be fees for membership with CILEX, which is required to enrol in the CPQ.

Below, we’ve compared the fees for CILEX Law School’s CPQ courses with those of a typical independent provider, using Astranti as an example, to give you an idea of the expected costs.

CPQ Foundation
CPQ Advanced
CPQ Professional
CILEX Law School
Course fee
Independent Provider

It’s important to research and plan your finances carefully to ensure you can manage the costs throughout your CPQ journey.

Many students find it helpful to create a budget that includes all potential expenses, allowing for a realistic view of the financial commitment involved.

However, you might not need to fully fund your CPQ studies yourself, as there are funding options and financial support available to some students…

Funding options

There are various funding options available to help manage the costs. These include employer sponsorship, student loans, and scholarships. Many employers in the legal sector support staff in gaining qualifications by offering financial assistance or study leave.

Financial support

CILEX offers various financial support options, including bursaries and grants for eligible students. Additionally, some training providers may offer discounts or special rates for early registration or bulk module enrolment.

The key benefits of CILEX CPQ

The CILEX CPQ offers numerous benefits, making it a compelling choice for those pursuing a career in law.

Here are some of the key advantages:

Career Progression: The CPQ is a recognised qualification that can significantly enhance your career prospects in the legal sector. It opens up opportunities for advancement to senior roles, such as Legal Executive, Paralegal, or even Partner in a law firm.

Recognition in the Legal Profession: CILEX is a well-respected organisation within the legal community. Completing the CPQ demonstrates your commitment to professional development and your capability as a legal practitioner.

CILEX CPQ Benefits
Advantages of CILEX CPQ

Practical Skills Development: Unlike traditional academic routes, the CPQ focuses on practical, work-based learning. This means you’ll develop real-world skills that are directly applicable to your day-to-day work, making you more effective and confident in your role.

Flexibility: The modular structure and self-paced nature of the CPQ allow you to balance your studies with other commitments. This flexibility is ideal for those who are working, have family responsibilities, or prefer to learn at their own pace.

Cost-Effective: The CPQ offers a more affordable route to a legal career compared to traditional university degrees. With various funding options and the ability to study while you work, it’s a cost-effective way to gain a valuable qualification.

Increased Earning Potential: With a CPQ qualification, you can expect to see an increase in your earning potential. Legal professionals with CILEX qualifications often command higher salaries due to their specialised skills and knowledge.


The CPQ is designed to be both comprehensive and flexible, ensuring that you can achieve your career goals while balancing other aspects of your life. This makes it an excellent option for those looking to build a successful and rewarding career in law.

Do I qualify for exemptions?

One of the significant advantages of the CILEX CPQ is its recognition of prior learning and experience. This can help reduce the time and cost required to complete the qualification.

But how do exemptions work?

Prior qualifications

If you have previous legal qualifications, such as a law degree, you may be eligible for exemptions from certain CPQ modules. This means you won’t need to retake subjects you’ve already covered, allowing you to progress more quickly through the stages.

Work experience

Relevant work experience in the legal sector can also count towards exemptions. If you’ve been working in a legal environment and have gained practical skills and knowledge, this experience can be recognised, reducing the number of modules you need to complete.

How to apply for exemptions

To apply for exemptions, you’ll need to provide evidence of your prior qualifications and/or work experience. This typically involves submitting transcripts, certificates, and detailed descriptions of your job roles and responsibilities. CILEX will assess your application and determine which exemptions you’re eligible for.

Exemptions can significantly shorten the length of your study and reduce costs. By bypassing modules you’ve already mastered, you can focus on new learning areas, making your study journey more efficient and cost-effective.

Therefore, it’s worth exploring your eligibility for exemptions early on in your CPQ journey. This can help you plan your studies more effectively and take full advantage of the opportunities available to you.

How do I get started?

Enrolling in the CILEX CPQ is a straightforward process, but it’s important to understand the steps involved and the requirements you’ll need to meet…

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for the CPQ vary depending on the stage you’re entering. For the Foundation Stage, there are no formal qualifications required, making it accessible to a wide range of applicants. For the Advanced and Professional Stages, you’ll need to have completed the previous stage or have equivalent qualifications/experience.

Application process

To apply for the CPQ, you’ll need to:

Register with CILEX as a student member


Choose an accredited training provider for your studies


Complete the application form provided by your chosen provider, including details of your educational background and any relevant work experience


Submit any required supporting documents, such as transcripts or employment references

Important dates and deadlines

Be sure to check the application deadlines for your chosen training provider. These can vary, so it’s important to plan ahead. Additionally, be aware of key dates such as exam registration deadlines and start dates for each module.

Next steps

Once your application is accepted, you’ll receive confirmation from CILEX and your training provider. You’ll then be able to access your study materials and start planning your learning schedule. Many providers offer induction sessions to help you get started and provide guidance on what to expect.

Get started with CILEX CPQ

Enrolling in the CPQ marks the beginning of an exciting journey towards a rewarding career in law. With the right preparation and support, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your professional goals.

Common questions:

How long does cilex cpq take?

Completing the CILEX CPQ typically takes 18 months to two years per stage, depending on your pace and prior experience. The qualification has three stages: Foundation, Advanced, and Professional. Studying part-time while working might extend the duration, but the programme is flexible to fit your schedule. With prior legal experience or qualifications, you might fast-track some parts, saving time. Overall, it’s designed to be manageable alongside work, allowing steady progress toward becoming a Chartered Legal Executive.

Does cilex qualify you as a solicitor?

CILEX does not qualify you as a solicitor. Instead, it qualifies you to become a Chartered Legal Executive, a distinct legal professional role. While both roles involve legal work, solicitors and Chartered Legal Executives have different training routes and responsibilities. Solicitors generally handle a broader range of legal work, including representing clients in court and managing a variety of legal cases. Chartered Legal Executives typically specialise in a particular area of law and may have more limited rights of audience in court. However, CILEX qualifications can provide a pathway to becoming a solicitor if you choose to pursue further training and meet the necessary requirements.

Is cilex equivalent to a degree?

CILEX qualifications are not equivalent to a degree. The qualifications are vocational and focused on practical legal skills and knowledge. However, the higher-level CILEX qualifications, particularly at the Professional stage, are recognised as being at a comparable level to certain degree-level qualifications. This makes them a valuable alternative for those seeking a legal career without attending university. Additionally, CILEX can be a more affordable and flexible option, allowing you to earn while you learn and gain hands-on experience in the legal field. It’s ideal for those who prefer a practical approach to learning and want to avoid the traditional university route.


The CILEX CPQ offers a flexible, cost-effective, and practical route to a successful career in law. With its modular structure, recognition of prior learning, and focus on practical skills, it’s designed to meet the needs of aspiring legal professionals at all stages of their careers.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to advance your existing career, the CPQ provides a clear pathway to achieving your goals.

We hope this guide has provided valuable insights into what the CPQ involves and how it can benefit you. If you have any further questions or need more information, don’t hesitate to drop a comment below, or reach out by sending us an email to and one of our student advisors will be on hand to help!

Embark on your legal career journey with confidence, knowing that the CPQ can help you achieve the success you’re aiming for. Good luck!


Illustration by Storyset.