Regulator took unusual decision to publish list in ‘interests of protecting consumers and third parties’

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has published on its website a list of 136 law firms that did not obtain new professional indemnity (PI) cover during the extended policy period (EPP) and should have closed.

The EPP was introduced for the first time this year to replace the assigned risks pool and gave firms an extended period of indemnity insurance for 90 days from the 1 October renewal deadline.

Firms that did not obtain new indemnity cover during the EPP by the final deadline of 29 December had to close their practice and are not insured to practise after that date.

The SRA said it does not normally publish the names of closed firms because firms have an obligation to inform clients and others that they are closing down.

However, in a statement today the regulator said: “The SRA has taken the decision on this occasion to publish the names in the interests of protecting consumers and third parties. Publishing the names adds an extra layer to the protection already in place.

“Most of these firms have closed properly, dealing with client files and monies appropriately, and have fully co-operated with the SRA. There is no evidence that these firms practised without indemnity insurance.”

The regulator has said that there are a few firms that failed to close properly and they are subject to ongoing robust action.