The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s plans to reform professional indemnity insurance and the compensation fund put too much risk on consumers without any commensurate benefit, a watchdog has warned.
The Court of Appeal has overturned a ruling that leading Welsh firm Hugh James did not have to pay a former client damages even though it had provided negligent advice. It is the latest in a long line of negligence cases to come out of the government’s miners’ compensation scheme.
The Law Society has launched a fierce attack on the second attempt by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to reduce the indemnity insurance and compensation fund requirements for solicitors. The society opposed all the main proposals, including a new £500,000 minimum limit for compulsory indemnity cover.
Conveyancers are facing higher professional indemnity insurance costs – and their clients higher fees as a result – due to yesterday’s Court of Appeal ruling in Dreamvar, experts have predicted. One said the judgment “will provide greater protection to buyers, but will shake up the conveyancing industry with much greater risk of liability”.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has today unveiled its second attempt to reduce the compulsory level of professional indemnity insurance to £500,000 – although conveyancers would have to secure £1m in cover. It also wants to turn the Compensation Fund explicitly into a ‘hardship’ fund and ban relatively wealthy people from claiming on it.
A threat to make a former partner of a corrupt solicitor who was part of a £30m mortgage fraud pay £205,000 in damages has been lifted when the High Court struck out a claim by one of the mortgage companies.
A bank that relied on inaccurate information supplied by its borrower’s solicitor should not have won a negligence claim against her, because it failed to carry out its own checks, the Supreme Court has ruled. It restored the ruling of the judge at first instance, who held that the bank did not act reasonably.
A Kent law firm was negligent for failing to advise properly on a mortgage and valuation report, but this did not cause a couple in Canterbury to buy a house suffering from subsidence, a circuit judge has ruled. He said it was not the firm’s duty to “advise about structural matters when there was a structural survey available”.
If the Legal Services Board is serious about promoting access to justice it must end its silence on the legal aid cuts, lawyers’ organisations have said. The Bar Council accused the oversight regulator of acting like “another department of government” by refusing to comment.
Law firms have taken advantage of a soft insurance market to secure 18-month professional indemnity insurance deals at a “very good” rate, a report has found. More firms were asking about additional cover to protect solicitors against defence costs in disciplinary proceedings, in the wake of the Leigh Day case.
It’s slightly tongue-in-cheek, but let’s see if we can design a business model that is doomed to struggle and which will ensure that we miss out on the profit and cash opportunities that come with providing high-value services at high prices in a near-monopoly situation.
Welcome to the new-look Legal Futures, refreshed and redesigned to be mobile optimised. We have run enough stories highlighting the importance of mobile optimisation, and we are finally practising what we preach.