Irish lawyers say yes to rescue of professional mutual fund

Irish lawyers have voted by a narrow margin in favour of bailing out professional indemnity insurer the Solicitors Mutual Defence Fund (SMDF).

By a margin of just over 1,000 votes solicitors approved the proposed €16m bailout, which will be sourced through a €200 levy on every Irish solicitors’ practising certificate each year for a decade.

The Law Society of Ireland told solicitors yesterday (14 June) that just under 50 per cent of its 9,200 members had voted in the postal ballot over the SMDF’s future.

Out of 4,542 valid votes, 2,804 members, or 62 per cent, had voted yes. A further 1,738 solicitors, 38 per cent, voted against the bailout.

The issue had split the profession in Ireland (10 June), with a number of solicitors arguing that the first bailout could turn out to be insufficient to meet the value of the SMDF’s outstanding claims.

SMDF chairman Laurence Shields said he was “very pleased” with the support from the profession and the Law Society, and added the SMDF would now be able to proceed to an orderly wind-down.