The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) has imposed sanctions on 15 solicitors as a result of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) drive to enforce payment of insurance premiums, with hearings awaited for a further 15.
The SRA, having stepped up enforcement measures against those firms in the ARP since 2010, are continuing their strong enforcement measures in the run up to closure of the ARP in September 2013.
Five solicitors have now been suspended indefinitely by the SDT, with recommendations that the suspension is not lifted until full payment is made. A further two solicitors have received a six month suspension, four have received fines, totalling in excess of £20,000 and reprimands have been handed down to four solicitors. The solicitors involved will have to pay the SRA’s costs of the proceedings.
Payment of ARP premiums has been strictly enforced since it was introduced as part of the Financial Protection Strategy back in 2010. The unpaid premiums totalled over £6 million and this cost has been passed onto the profession.
Steve Wilmott, SRA Director of Intelligence and Investigation, said:
"We’ve always appreciated that economic conditions are difficult for many firms. But we also have a responsibility to the public and the profession to ensure that appropriate action continues to be taken against those firms which owe premiums to the ARP, some of which are significant."
Of the 53 firms that applied to enter the ARP at the end of September, 22 remain. Fifteen firms have decided to close, five firms have been allowed to remain in the ARP for a short time and the remaining two are in the process of securing insurance on the open market.
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