The troubles surrounding Solicitors’ Professional Indemnity are looked at from a range of angles this week across both the insurance and legal trade press. Post Magazine leads with an update on the case involving Quinn Insurance and its disclosure argument against the Law Society; leave to appeal has been granted for the insurer which says in its argument that when the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority has closed down a firm of lawyers, access to that firm’s confidential files should be allowed. The courts previously denied access after a number of claims arose against the firm in question following its closure.
All of this illustrates the extreme pressure the legal profession is under right now; juxtaposed to the Quinn case which presumably would expose lawyers to further negligence claims if the insurers win, is a Law Society Gazette report on whether to close down the Assigned Risks Pool.
The place lawyers have to go for cover when no insurer will touch them is being touted for closure by the SRA and we’ve covered this previously on BMR from the insurers’ point of view. Here the Gazette pulls out all the stops to explain the dismay amongst solicitors that their safety net may be closed, led by the Law Society president himself, who said “The ARP is an integral element of client protection…”
Returning to Post, a report on how the Ministry of Justice fast track personal injury claims reforms could affect solicitors, reveals yet another negligence timebomb waiting to explode. Damian McPhun of Halliwells, explains that under the new regime which pays claimant solicitors fixed costs up to a maximum of £1200 will mean an increased temptation for those involved to seek settlement without a medical report. McPhun added that the Bolam test means any lawyer who settles without a medical report and subsequently faces a negligence claim if they get the injury wrong, will not have a leg to stand on.