SRA takes control of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has taken control of the running of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF), meaning solicitors’ clients will continue to be able to claim compensation, even if, in the unlikely event, something is found to have gone wrong years after a firm has closed.*
“We are delighted the SRA will continue to provide consumers with the vital protections of the SIF,” said our president Lubna Shuja.
“This move followed extensive lobbying from the Law Society on behalf of solicitors and their clients, urging the SRA to work with us, the insurance industry and wider stakeholders to find a sustainable solution to the issue of run-off indemnity cover and long-term consumer protection.
“This means clients can have confidence not only that their solicitor is adequately and appropriately insured while a firm remains open, but there are systems in place to make sure that they can still be compensated in the unlikely event that a claim is identified beyond the usual six-year term of solicitors’ mandatory run-off cover.
“Bringing the arrangements in-house means the SRA will be able to monitor the SIF and ensure it has the resources necessary to operate properly in the long term.
“The Law Society believes that a levy on the profession may be required to prevent the SIF’s assets from being run down, however the SRA has decided not to impose such a charge at this time. If the need arises in the future, the SRA has committed to carrying out a further consultation on the issue.”
The regulator agreed to two significant suggestions we made:
- An independent body will be called upon to appoint an arbitrator in the unlikely event a dispute arises concerning the fund.
- If at some point in the future the SIF is wound up, and the SRA has no further indemnification purpose for the residual funds, any remaining money would return to the Law Society, to be used for the benefit of the profession.
Lubna Shuja concluded: “This is the culmination of a collaborative effort from a range of stakeholders who proved the profession as a whole wanted to retain the SIF.
"We acknowledge the way the SRA listened to the concerns expressed by the Law Society and consumer groups and responded responsibly. We have been greatly impressed by the huge amount of work undertaken by the SRA staff to bring the SIF under the regulator’s direct management in time for the start of October.
“We look forward to continuing to work constructively with the SRA on this important consumer and solicitor protection, long into the future.”
Notes to editors
* The SRA took control of the SIF on 1 October. The SRA have appointed Polo Commercial Insurance Services Limited to handle SIF claims.
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