70 per cent vote to scrap SIF

Solicitors have voted overwhelmingly for the right to insure themselves on the open market and end the monopoly of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF).

In a ballot of the whole profession, 19,795 solicitors 70.4 per cent of those who voted elected to end SIF's monopoly, against 29.6 per cent (8,303), who voted against an open market option.

Almost one in three Law Society members voted on the issue. The Law Society spent around u35,000 on the nationwide vote but admits it is not bound by the outcome.

But anti-SIF campaigners are now demanding the Law Society scraps the monopoly.

Wendy Grey, spokeswoman for the anti-SIF campaigners the Millennium Group, which forced through the postal ballot, says: “We are delighted with the result. We hope it gives a clear message to the council. We need to be able to use the open market just like any other business.”

Christopher Hales, the chairman of City anti-SIF campaigners the November Meeting Group , says: “I think whatever the legal position, even if this result is not legally binding on the council, morally they must now reconsider their position.”