SIF saga seeks a happy end, or an end at least

If it wasn't so expensive, solicitors would find the entire SIF saga hilarious. The latest twist is that the profession will revert to the master policy system abandoned in 1987.

Firms are entitled to ask whether anyone in the "new improved" Chancery Lane has a coherent solution to the crisis. Last year a four-month consultation asked the profession to choose between SIF and the open market. The master policy received little support in firms' responses.

At the end of the process last September, the council commissioned a report to examine whether SIF and the open market could run in tandem. Its conclusion was that firms going to the open market should pay a levy to subsidise SIF. Now a "supplementary report" has appeared – the open market/master policy option, with SIF possibly carrying on as a "claims handling service".

Who will benefit from the latest episode of this sitcom? Not the City firms which complain that the Law Society "is replacing one monopoly with another". And not the mass of firms trying to budget for indemnity and haven't a clue who they will be buying it off, or how much it will cost.

No one is suggesting there is a quick fix for the indemnity problem. But the Law Society has had two years to come up with a solution. The council is supposedly making a final decision in March. Let us hope that it does, because the debate is getting beyond a joke.