SRA discovers more firms without insurance as 117 face closure next week

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18 December 2013


PII: SRA issues compliance plans

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has found a further 17 firms that have still not secured professional indemnity insurance, taking the current total facing closure next week to 117.

The 17 failed to notify the SRA that they had entered the new extended policy period but were identified after the regulator cross-referenced various parts of its own data with that of insurers.

The SRA said disciplinary action over the failure to notify will be considered at a later stage, but its current focus is on ensuring orderly wind down where indemnity is not obtained.

The 117 have to find cover or properly close their practice by 29 December 2013.

The SRA has sent 108 compliance plans to firms, of which 94 have been signed and returned by managers. Disciplinary action will be considered for firms that delay in returning signed compliance plans, or firms that fail to give the required regular updates to the SRA of their position.

Mike Haley, SRA director of supervision, said: “Some firms are better than others when it comes to addressing all the issues associated with an orderly wind-down, for example ensuring archived files are stored properly. We continue to work with firms to remind them of their responsibilities and the approaching deadline for closure.

“All of these firms are aware that they should not be carrying out any work on behalf of clients beyond 29 December as they would be doing so without insurance, so all live client matters and client monies must be dealt with by that date.

“Firms that continue to practise after 29 December or fail to wind down in an orderly fashion will be subject to swift regulatory action. Exercising our powers of intervention may be considered where it is necessary and appropriate in the public interest.”

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