The SRA is currently consulting on possible reforms to the minimum terms and conditions of solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance (PII). The stated purpose of the reforms is to reduce the cost of premiums, on the assumption that solicitors will pass the savings on to their clients, making legal services cheaper and more accessible to people in legal need.
However, the Law Society believes that the SRA has fundamentally misunderstood how the PII industry works, and that the changes they are proposing will not only reduce important financial protections for clients and solicitors alike, but will probably lead to an increase in the overall cost of insurance and compliance.
The Law Society is submitting its own, detailed response to the consultation, and the President has written to all of the local Law Societies throughout England and Wales, encouraging them to make their own formal responses.
We would now like to encourage you - as a firm, individual member, or interested third party - to submit your own response, which you can do through the SRA website.
To help you we have produced a slide deck which sets out - simply and clearly - the major points of the consultation and our concerns about their likely adverse impact on clients, our members, and the reputation of the profession.
We urge you to read this and to consider how the proposals might affect you and the people who use your services. Even if you do not feel able to comment on all (or indeed any) of the questions asked in the SRA’s consultation document, you can still make a useful contribution by setting out the expected implications of the changes for your business.
The deadline for submissions to the SRA is Friday 15 June.
The consultation additionally proposes changes to the Compensation Fund (which we have also addressed in the slide deck), and you may want to comment on that also.
PII is an important issue for all solicitors in private practice who, without appropriate insurance, could face severe financial problems. PII is also important as a protection for those affected by solicitors’ mistakes, for how the public regards the profession, and for access to justice. So please join with us in warning the SRA against undermining these fundamental safeguards, read the slide deck, and submit your response to the SRA by Friday 15 June.
If you have any questions, please contact the Law Society’s PII Policy Adviser Simon Thomson by email.