PII and in-house solicitors
Solicitors have an obligation under the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Indemnity Insurance Rules to have qualifying professional indemnity insurance (PII) at all times.
This usually only applies to solicitors in private practice, but sometimes it can also apply to solicitors working in-house.
Working only for your employer
If you’re an in-house solicitor working only for your employer, you do not need PII.
Liability is covered by your employment contract and is your employer’s responsibility.
Working for clients other than your employer
Rule 4.1 of the SRA Practice Framework Rules prevents in-house solicitors acting for clients other than their employer except in certain circumstances. These circumstances are set out in rules 4.4 to 4.26.
If you’re working for other clients, you might need to have PII in place depending on what kind of work you’re doing.
When you need PII
You must have PII cover if you provide any of the following services to a client other than your employer:
- pro bono work (rules 4.10 to 4.11) (see rule 4.3 and guidance note (i))
- commercial legal advice (rule 4.14)
- law centres, charities and other non-commercial advice (rule 4.16)
- working in foreign law firms (rule 4.19)
Your PII cover must be reasonably equivalent to that required under the SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules.
When you do not need PII
You might not need PII cover if you act for any of the following clients, but you should check that the relevant indemnity insurance rules apply to your situation:
- work colleagues (rules 4.4 to 4.6)
- related bodies – organisations or partnerships that your employer has an interest in or is a member of (rules 4.7 to 4.9)
- members of an association you work for (rule 4.12)
- insurers (rule 4.13)
- local government (rule 4.15)
- the Crown, non-departmental public bodies, and the Legal Services Commission (rule 4.18)
- regulatory bodies (rule 4.26)
If your in-house practice is overseas, see rules 4.22 to 4.25.
If you do not need your own PII cover, you must make sure your employer has appropriate cover that’s reasonably equivalent to that required under the SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules. If it is not, you must inform your client in writing that you are not covered by the compulsory insurance scheme.