NALP is a non-profit Membership Body as well as being the only Paralegal body that is recognised as an awarding organisation by Ofqual (the regulator of qualifications in England). Through its training arm, NALP Training, accredited recognised professional paralegal qualifications are offered for a career as a paralegal professional.
NALP Mission Statement
NALP strives to ensure that its members are recognised as a key part of the legal profession by the quality of its qualifications and professional development. NALP encourages, promotes and develops the role and practice of the paralegal and represents the best interests of its members.
- to provide for the qualification of its Affiliate Members as Paralegals
- to provide for the career development of its qualified Members
- to disseminate information on matters of professional interest
- to represent, promote and express the collective interests of its Members
- to act as a consultative body on all things concerned with the Paralegal Profession
- to provide a forum for all matters affecting the interests of its Members
- to provide opportunities for social contacts amongst Paralegals
What We Do
NALP's aim is to strengthen the voice of NALP Paralegals in the legal world. NALP has advocated in the past on behalf of its members, to the The Law Society, and Bar Council.
We offer membership to a rapidly expanding profession within the legal sector. We actively lobby on the behalf of our members to develop the status and perception of Paralegals and the work that they do.
We encourage any person who performs legal work, within any organisation or company to join NALP. We offer a wide range of membership status’ for all levels including Legal Secretaries, Associates and Graduates.
NALP encourages all its members who wish to practise in their own right, to gain a NALP Licence to Practice subject to eligibility, insurance requirements and competency.
NALP Training is a NALP Centre and offers Paralegal Qualifications to support the professionalism of Paralegals that exist at many levels within an organisation. There are junior paralegals and very senior paralegals performing many different functions. However, at whatever level they are, they have one thing in common, and that is the necessity for a thorough grounding in the English Legal System, the main areas of substantive law and also legal procedure. The philosophy of NALP is that to succeed as a specialist, a paralegal must start as a generalist. No specialist area exists in a vacuum or in isolation.
The importance of professional training and qualification
The role of the paralegal is crucial to the practical and economic sustainability of the provision of legal services by solicitors' practices and alternative business structures (ABS), as well as roles played within commerce and industry. They are an extremely important part of the legal profession.
Now, more than ever before, Paralegals will take on an even more significant role due to changes occurring within the Legal Services Sector. With Barristers being able to conduct litigation, there will be more opportunities for paralegals to work within the 'regulated' legal sector.
Also, since legal aid has been withdrawn for all but a few cases, the public need access to more cost effective legal advice and assistance. This gives further opportunities for trained and qualified paralegals with a NALP Licence to Practice to work as paralegal practitioners under strict rules and guidelines of NALP.
Many organisations are now employing paralegals, as opposed to 'in house' solicitors, as a more financially viable alternative if there are tasks requiring a legal content to them. For this purpose and those mentioned above, it is vital that a paralegal has not only a recognised qualification but also membership of a recognised body.
Brief History of NALP
NALP was established in 1987. Its mission - to re-enforce its position as the leading professional organisation catering for the ‘Career Paralegal’ not only within the legal profession but also within commerce, industry and the private and public sectors. Also, to strive to ensure the proper recognition of its Members as an integral part of the legal profession by the quality of its qualifications, professional development and the standards of behaviour and rules of membership laid down for its Members. Its aim is to encourage, promote and develop the role and practice of the Paralegal and represent the best interests of its Members.
NALP’s main benchmark qualification was introduced in 1988: The Higher Certificate in Paralegal Studies (now the Level 4 Diploma in Paralegal Studies). Since 1989 when the first examinations were held, over 10,000 people have sat for the qualification of Associate Member (A.NALP) - the NALP Level 4 Diploma in Paralegal Studies.
Continuing growth saw the introduction of further qualifications: The Level 7 Post Graduate Diploma in Paralegal Practice which was introduced in 1999, as a result of referrals by The Law Society, to assist law graduates, who were unable to obtain a training contract, to achieve the necessary knowledge and skills in procedural law to progress to the alternative career route as a career paralegal. Success in this leads to Graduate membership of NALP (Grad.NALP)
In December 2009, NALP became an Awarding Organisation regulated by Ofqual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) and since 2010 both the Level 4 and Level 7 qualifications have been on the NQF (National Qualifications Framework). In 2013 NALP’s new Level 3 Qualifications were added to this framework.
NALP, through its training arm, NALP Training also works very closely with eight universities to offer a Joint Higher Diploma Programme