The Institute of Legal Executives (Ilex) is boosting its range of qualifications with a series of courses at university and A-level.

The chief executive, Ray Ball, told Ilex's annual conference that the institute had new challenges ahead, including national vocational qualifications in legal practice from next year.

The institute has also contacted 75 universities with law departments as part of a major new project.

Ball said: “Our aim is to embed the Ilex qualification into qualifying law degrees while the students are at university. This has been a highly successful venture and 27 universities are keen on the scheme, or have already agreed to it.”

He said overseas activities had also increased. In the past six months discussions had been held with Malawi to build membership there.

He added that the group also hoped to create an Ilex A-level and a joint NVQ body. “If successful this will be a first of its kind and we intend it to be a vocational A-level in law,” he said.

Delegates also heard from the guest speaker, the BBC's legal correspondent Joshua Rozenberg, on the relationship between the legal profession and politicians.

He said: “I think there is now a trial of strength between ministers and judges. I think it is damaging to the judiciary and ultimately to our parliamentary democracy. I hope both sides will call a truce after the election.”