SRA calls for client protection evidence

Following consultations held by the SRA arising from its publication of a major regulatory reform programme in May, the Authority is calling for evidence on client protection issues.

The consultations, which closed on 18 June, included proposals aimed at improving client protection, specifically: changes to professional indemnity insurance arrangements and; the introduction of eligibility criteria for making claims to the SRA’s compensation fund.

The Authority concluded from these consultations that further work could be done to inform its approach to PII and the Compensation Fund.

As a result, the SRA has launched a ‘call for evidence’ to help with its decision-making.

The consultations revealed that respondents were broadly supportive of the need for reform but some suggested that further information was needed before the proposals could be progressed.

At its meeting at the beginning of July, the SRA Board agreed to: the introduction of eligibility criteria for the Compensation Fund; the introduction of a new "Outcome" requiring firms to assess and purchase appropriate professional indemnity insurance cover; a reduction in the minimum requirement for cover to £500,000.

The SRA is particularly interested in evidence that supports:

  • The ways in which regulation can reduce the risk of claims arising
  • The extent to which risk is shared between consumers and legal businesses
  • The impact of the PII Minimum Terms and Conditions
  • How far insurance cover should be more closely aligned to the nature of the legal services provided
  • The degree to which client protection arrangements are understood by consumers and are a driver of consumer behaviour

Crispin Passmore, SRA Executive Director of Policy, said: "We want to hear from firms, consumers, consumer bodies–as well as those who responded to the original consultations.

"We would particularly welcome contributions that draw upon relevant research, that refer to published or privately held data or provide examples from other jurisdictions or markets."

Contributions can be submitted via [email protected] by 30 September 2014.

The programme of regulatory reforms published on May 7 can be accessed here: www.sra.org.uk/reform

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