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Retired solicitors band together amid SIF closure ruin fears

An Article from The Law Society Gazette, 3 May 2021

Retired solicitors have formed a support group as they consider how best to respond to the looming threat of being held personally liable for historical negligence claims.

The Gazette has been contacted by practitioners concerned about the closure of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund from the end of September. The closure of the fund effectively means any solicitor facing a negligence claim outside of their six-year run-off will not be covered, unless they have taken out extra insurance.

The fund, established by the Law Society in 1987, is currently run by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. According to the most recent accounts, the SIF had net assets of £22.48m at 31 October 2020, with around 200 cases ongoing.

Andrew Stovin, a retired solicitor from St Albans, is coordinating a group of former practitioners demanding to know what will be done with the surplus and what more action can be taken to protect people or their dependants from historical claims.

Stovin said: ‘Why is it thought appropriate that those in my position should have to pay for additional PII when there is £22.48m available with which to meet claims? We have paid into the fund and are, in effect, being asked to pay twice for cover.

‘The funds were raised from the profession specifically for indemnity purposes and those purposes still exist.’

The Law Society declined to comment on how the surplus will be deployed after the SIF closes.

Tuesday, 4th May, 2021