SPG drums up funds to challenge SIF risk branding

The Solicitors' Property Group (SPG) is appealing to the entire profession to help finance a judicial review of the Law Society's new risk banding rules for contributions to the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF).

Under risk banding, which is being introduced this year, firms specialising in conveyancing face massive hikes in their SIF contributions because of the risks associated with such work.

At its AGM last Tuesday, SPG members voted to set up a fighting fund to raise the £20,000 needed to take the Law Society to court.

Leslie Dubow, chairman of the SPG, said small conveyancing firms could face a 230 per cent hike in their SIF bills. He said he was confident the profession would respond to the appeal “as bills start landing on the doormats in the coming weeks”.

In September, the Law Society Council will decide what to do about SIF. However, even if it decides to abolish SIF, firms will have to pay this year's contributions and possibly contributions for the following year as well.

Last week The Lawyer revealed that Michael Dalton, a Bournemouth sole practitioner, was seeking a judicial review of the society's decision to hit him with a 100 per cent increase in his SIF contribution.

Dalton said he had already spent £3,000 in legal fees and predicted “it could cost me another £10,000”.