Law Society moves to liberalise SIF waiver rules

The Law Society has relaxed the rules governing applications for Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) waivers, on the eve of a legal challenge against the fund's monopoly.

Until now, solicitors hit by huge SIF bills have only been let off paying them if they can prove they have been subjected to serious injustice because of an anomalous situation.

But last week the society announced that the criteria had been changed to allow waivers when a “strict operation” of the rules had caused the serious injustice.

The move co-incides with Hampshire solicitor Michael Dalton's application this Friday to bring a judicial review against the society for refusing to let law firms opt out of SIF.

Dalton is refusing to pay his SIF bill after it doubled with the introduction of risk banding, designed to make claims reflect more accurately the risk posed by the type of work firms do. He dismissed the waiver change as a public relations exercise.