First public victim of SIF as sole practice goes to the wall

The sole practice of former Eversheds partner Jocelyn Taylor has become the first public casualty of the massive hikes in Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) contributions.

Taylor, who left Eversheds to work part-time from home three years ago, says her SIF contribution has rocketed from £1,600 last year to £9,110 for the year ahead, and her construction practice is no longer viable on her average fee income of £30,000.

“I have written to my clients saying that I am closing my practice. I have no other choice,” she said.

She applied to the Law Society for a waiver on her SIF fees but it was refused. An official told Taylor that granting a waiver could “open the floodgates” to other claims.

SIF head of practice John Stoneley said what Taylor described as an unusually lucrative case saw her income increase three and a half times in the last year, adding to the contribution increase. Taylor , who went solo so that she could spend more time with her young daughter, says women in her position are being unfairly punished by the contribution policy.

“I have this feeling that the effect of this rule is going to be sexually discriminating,” she said. “I think quite a lot of woman do what I do and move away from working in a large practice.”