SRA proposes U-turn on compensation fund | New

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After nearly a decade of dithering, the notary regulator has admitted it should continue to cover claims against retired notaries once their six-year run-off insurance expires. A article published “for discussion” today reveals that the Solicitors Regulation Authority is considering retaining the Solicitors’ Indemnity Fund (SIF), which was first announced to be closed in 2013, “with changes aimed at reducing operating costs”.

Another option on the table is to replace the SIF with “a new consumer protection device” within the regulator. “We have the power to put in place a new SRA consumer protection scheme as a compensation scheme or compensation fund,” the newspaper notes.

The announcement will come as a relief to lawyers, especially those working in small businesses and as sole practitioners. “We welcome the SRA taking the next step in examining how consumers of legal services can continue to be protected,” said Law Society President I. Stephanie Boyce. “The SRA also recognized that consumers could suffer serious harm if claims after six years are not addressed.”

The SIF, originally set up as a temporary arrangement in hopes of finding commercial insurance cover, is currently on life support until September 2023 following a commitment from the SRA to cover potential liabilities. A previous consultation, which ran for three months until February this year, drew more than 300 responses, overwhelmingly raising concerns about the shutdown.

Announcing the new consultation, which has been open for less than a month, SRA Board Chair Anna Bradley said: “Our work over the past few months has helped us better understand what protection consumer protection against negligence claims brought more than six years after a business closed can offer certain users legal services.We also considered how best to maintain this protection in a cost-effective and proportionate way, if we decide that it’s the right thing to do.

Lymington’s lawyer, Clive Sutton, who led the Sole Practitioners Group’s lobbying on the issue, said it was ‘essential that the funds currently in SIF, which have been provided by the profession for their future protection, be terminated in any ongoing program”.

He noted that the options points “are in general terms and do not take into account other expert evidence that the current SIF scheme could be nearly self-sufficient if compensated by the profession with the use of investment income of the fund”. .

A final decision will be made at the SRA Board meeting in September. These meetings are currently closed to the press.

The consultation on the SRA proposals closes on 31 August.

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