Solicitors’ regulator gives key consumer protection another chance
After extensive lobbying from the Law Society and other stakeholders, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has announced it is deferring the closure of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) by 12 months, until September 2023.
The move comes after the SRA launched a consultation in November 2021 where it sought views from the profession about the future of SIF, which currently provides supplementary run-off cover for firms that have closed, ensuring ongoing long-term protection for clients.
The Law Society campaigned strongly for the continuation of SIF, arguing closure would have a detrimental impact on consumers, leaving them unable to seek redress on the rare occasion something goes wrong.
The SRA had previously indicated its preferred option was to close SIF, claiming the cost of running it was disproportionate to the consumer benefit it delivers in terms of volume and value of claims.
Law Society of England and Wales president I. Stephanie Boyce said: “We are delighted the SRA has listened to our concerns about closing SIF and has instead given the fund another chance.
“In the lead up to September 2023, the solicitors’ regulator will refrain from deciding on SIF’s future while further work is done on whether consumer protection can be delivered in a more cost effective way.
“Possible alternatives to SIF include making changes to how the fund is set up and operated, reducing the scope of protection it gives, or finding a different consumer protection vehicle funded via SIF’s surplus – which may also be subsidised by the profession.
“We are pleased the SRA has heard our arguments about the importance of continuing consumer protection, rather than run the risks of not doing so, which would leave consumers unable to claim compensation for flawed transactions affecting wills, buying a home or child personal injury cases.
“The Law Society stands ready to support the SRA as they explore further options.”
Notes to editors
The SIF extension runs till September 2023
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