Local society changes tack to round on SIF

A local law society that initially backed the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) has now blasted Chancery Lane for “fundamentally misleading” the profession.

Milton Keynes and District Law Society was one of 19 law societies that called for the retention of SIF during the consultation on the future of solicitors' professional indemnity insurance in the summer.

But in a letter to The Lawyer this week, the Milton Keynes society's president, Kristine Pratt, complains that Chancery Lane misled her organisation by failing to warn of the massive hike in this year's SIF contributions, announced just days after the consultation period closed.

She wrote: “It is now unanimously our view that we were fundamentally misled by the society, and open market insurance is the only way forward.”

She said one of the society's members, a conveyancer with gross fees of around £170,000, was hit with a SIF bill amounting to 26 per cent of his income – five times higher than a quote obtained on the open market.

A Law Society spokesman said: “It is up to them to change their mind but the figures quoted in the consultation paper took account of risk banding, which was the key change for bills this year.

“If we had delayed the consultation until after bills went out, no doubt we would have been accused of fudging the issue and lack of leadership.”