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The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has had to take control of significantly more law firms this year than last, with the number of interventions rising by over 70 per cent year-on-year.
The SRA has intervened 53 times since the start of 2008, compared with 30 times for the same period in 2007. It is estimated that this year’s figure will rise to 75 by the end of 2008, up from 48 for the whole of 2007.
Interventions occur when firms are reported for dishonesty, rule breaches, mismanagement or when management is incapacitated through sickness or death.
SRA spokesman Geoffrey Negus said: “The SRA is extremely sympathetic to the plight of law firms, but as a regulator our primary mission is to protect the public and clients. We can’t afford to relax our standards.”
The most common cause of interventions in 2008 was dishonesty, resulting in 45 per cent of actions, followed by rule breaches at 37.5 per cent. Bankruptcy and abandonment was the cause of just 11.3 per cent of actions.