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Mr Mears' Viewpoint article on the Law Society's Disbursement Funding Scheme fundamentally misunderstands its practicalities, which we have designed with the Law Society to meet the clearly articulated needs of many of its members.
Mr Mears is also wrong when he states that under the Financial Services Act a solicitor would be required to advise clients on the merits of the scheme.
The scheme is valuable to practitioners and clients alike. For clients:
at 14 per cent APR, with no administration or set-up fees, the scheme offers a competitive rate of interest;
it is a fast and simple service, with no personal interviews or form filling;
it provides easy access to the law for those individuals who might otherwise find the financial burden of funding disbursement costs too great;
it gives individuals a clear choice of how to fund disbursement costs.
For practitioners, the scheme:
enables a practice to manage its cashflow. The fact is many firms are already funding client disbursements and far from encouraging them to take on additional liabilities, the scheme provides practices with the ability to manage their finances in a professional and structured manner;
is simple and cost-effective to administer;
is practice driven. The Disbursement Funding Scheme will benefit practitioners and clients alike and the extent of its appeal is reflected in the large number of firms which have already registered interest.
If Mr Mears has concerns about the scheme he will no doubt continue to help his clients fund disbursements in other ways and be happy for his practice to bear the cost of doing so.