The Board of the SRA has agreed the final rules for bringing the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) under the control of the SRA to ensure future consumer protection for post six-year negligence claims. These rules are being submitted to the Legal Services Board (LSB) for approval, ahead of the new arrangements becoming effective from October.
The SRA has stated that the changes will make post six-year protection part of its regulatory arrangements and ensure appropriate oversight and governance of the scheme. It is hoped that the changes will also reduce SIF’s running costs, meaning more money will be available for the fund’s core purpose of settling claims.
The good news, from the perspective of solicitors, is that the SRA does not expect to levy the profession to obtain more funds for the scheme in the near future, although they may need to do so at a later date. Before this happens, they will need to consult on options for the fund’s long-term financial arrangements.
A consultation on the new draft rules, “Consumer protection for post six year negligence” closed on 3 January 2023, having produced feedback strongly supporting the principle of providing ongoing consumer protection for post six-year negligence. Based on this feedback the SRA has made some changes to its original proposals, including updates to the process for when an arbitrator is required so it is appointed by an appropriate independent body.