SRA to replace Solicitors Indemnity Fund with in-house scheme

Bradley: SRA will have clear oversight

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is to replace the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) next September with new indemnity arrangements that it will run itself.

The announcement came just a fortnight after the deadline for responses to a discussion paper the SRA issued at the start of August, uncommonly quick by the regulator’s standards.

The discussion paper said “a new consumer protection arrangement within the SRA” – either an indemnity scheme or compensation fund – was likely to be more cost-effective than retaining the SIF, a separate company which covers claims made against solicitors after the six-year period of run-off cover.

Among other things, it advanced the idea of blocking claims from businesses, charities or trusts with income or assets of over £2m.

Neither the detail of how the new scheme will operate nor an analysis of the responses has been released yet. The SRA said it would launch a consultation on the arrangements and rules for the new scheme by the end of the month.

But it confirmed that it would maintain consumer protection at the same level of cover as the SIF.

SRA chair Anna Bradley said: “We have been looking at how best to maintain consumer protection for negligence claims brought more than six years after a firm has closed in a cost-effective and proportionate way and have decided that an SRA-run indemnity scheme is the right way forward.

“This approach will provide that important protection for those who need it, while giving us clear oversight of how the indemnity operates, enabling us to run the scheme efficiently and realise potential cost savings.”

Law Society president I Stephanie Boyce said she was pleased that the SRA board “appears to have given due consideration to the profession’s views on this important matter”.

She continued: “This is likely to be a relief to the many members, and former members, who have been worried that the closure of SIF would mean the ending of [post-six years cover] as a regulatory arrangement, when for most there was little prospect of finding alternative comparable protection on the open market.”

Ms Boyce said the society wanted to be certain that the new scheme would be affordable in the long term, provide good value for money, and maintain “the strong protections that have benefited clients and solicitors alike under the SIF”.

    Readers Comments

  • Ian Gilam says:

    The SRA cannot claim to maintain existing cover provided by SIF as they do not acknowledge the meaning or extent of it. The SIF Rules 2012 are open under Rule 8.5 and 9.3 to demand against indemnity for dishonesty and a list of other things. It is dishonest and cheating solicitors and the public not to make this clear before any alterations are put in place. Concern for the consumer good by both Anna Bradley and the President of the Law Society are a joke. The only protection they are concerned about is their members. My public comments on the February consultation were not heeded. PSYROC, in the latest spiel on line, has now become negligence focused. It is not, and by removing the ability to demand indemnity in all cases where Rule 8.5 applies is an attempt to cull this provision without anyone noticing. The only person to suffer will be the public.

    I have made the SIF, SRA, Chair of LSBCP, LSB and President of the Law society aware of all this but they chose, as usual, to ignore it. This is a disgrace. If you read the SRA Trustpilot reviews it is easy to sunrise that what is needed by the public is to close the whole rotten jobs worth regulation operation and start again with people who know what they are doing, have some decency and principles, and actual care! Does the Justice Ministry have any idea what is going on. Probably not

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