The CLC, the specialist property law regulator has confirmed that it will reduce regulatory fees rates for firms by 20% with effect from 1st November 2016.
The announcement follows a consultation on the proposed reduced rates and a formal decision by the governing Council.The proposals will now be passed to the Legal Services Board for approval.
The fee rate cut has been made possible by restructuring of the CLC’s operations, staffing, processes and IT support as well as a move to new, more appropriate premises. Together, these have reduced the CLC’s cost base in a sustainable way while maintaining and improving services consumers and the regulated community.
The CLC also published a review of the operation of the professional indemnity insurance round. Firms had to renew their insurance by 1st July under new terms which built in automatic run-off cover to no cost at the point of a firm’s closure.
This was also the first PII renewal round through a fully open market, following the end of the CLC’s Master Policy scheme.
Feedback from the profession was overwhelmingly positive, with 84% of respondents finding the process easier or the same as the previous year and more than two-thirds saying they were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the new arrangements.
Overall, premium rates remain very competitive despite the addition of automatic run-off cover to the minimum terms. All firms that sought cover secured it.
The CLC will discuss the survey findings with insurers to ensure that points raised about the operation of the process are taken account of in planning the 2017 renewal round.
Sheila Kumar, Chief Executive of the CLC said: “The success of the 2016 Professional Indemnity Insurance renewal round and the announcement of 20% reductions to regulatory fees for firms set the seal on a very successful twelve months for the CLC.
“In a recent independent survey, three-quarters of CLC lawyers said that regulation by the CLC provides value for money and supports innovation and growth in their business. The Legal Services Board gave us a very strong report too, giving us the best assessment of any regulator.
“PII premium rates for CLC-regulated firms remain very competitive. The new automatic run-off provisions are a benefit to firms as well as reducing what had been a risk to consumers and the Compensation Fund in the event that a firm closed without purchasing run-off cover.
“Reducing the costs of regulation is an important part of our mission to foster competition and innovation in conveyancing and probate. The ongoing review of our regulatory arrangements has a sharp focus on even tighter tailoring of our approach to the proportionate regulation of specialist property lawyers.”