SRA causes controversy by publishing details of firms without insurance
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has found itself at the centre of controversy as the result of the list it has published of 136 firms that it claims did not have indemnity insurance in place by 1 October deadline and did not obtain new cover during the Extended Policy Period (EPP).
The SRA statement said that firms that the firms listed did not obtain new indemnity cover during the EPP, namely by 29 December, and had to close their practice because they were not insured to practise after that date. It stated that it had taken the decision on this occasion to publish the names in the interests of protecting consumers and third parties because publishing the names adds an extra layer to the protection already in place.
However, not all of the firms in the SRA’s list of 136 had closed as a result of failing to get insurance. Some had simply decided not to continue in practice whist others had merged with other practices.
An article in The Lawyer magazine (www.thelawyer.com/analysis/the-lawyer-management/furious-firms-threaten-action-over-botched-sra-insurance-list/3015156.article) stated that several of the firms named were furious and that some had considered taking legal action. One solicitor, who was not named, stated that he had written to the SRA on learning that he was to be named asking for an explanation but had not received a response. He is reported to have said that “The SRA is incompetent and should no longer exist.”
The SRA have attempted to deflect criticism by stating that the list was only of firms without insurance – not necessarily a list of those who failed to be able to obtain insurance. It remains to be seen whether that will be enough to prevent further steps being taken by firms such as Grants Solicitors whom, Legal Futures revealed (www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/firm-angry-inclusion-sra-indemnity-list-solicitors-predict-pi-firms-will-dominate-next-one), would be “taking this up with the Solicitors Regulation Authority as they were well aware of the facts but disappointingly have failed to indicate this in their widespread communications.”