The Solicitors Regulation Authority have announced a consultation on making it easier for firms to switch regulators.
The announcement comes after the Society for Licensed Conveyancers wrote to the SRA asking them to review the situation and remove the need for professional indemnity insurance cover while the switch is taking place.
The current Participating Insurers Agreement regime currently requires firms to have run-off cover in place. Although the SRA can waive the need to have six years run-off cover in place, the agreement can still be a barrier to firms switching as they would need dual cover.
Crispin Passmore, the SRA’s Executive Director for Policy said: “Firms should be able to switch to the regulator they feel is right for their business more easily than is currently the case. Legal businesses are increasingly owned by, and employ, a range of lawyers and non-lawyers, so choosing a regulator is an important business decision. Facilitating choice is a good way to encourage a modern, competitive market that provides affordable and accessible services.
“The Legal Services Board ensures minimum standards of client protection are maintained by all legal services regulators. Nonetheless, we have to be careful that removing unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles for firms does not create potential risks for the clients of firms wanting to switch. We want to get the right balance between encouraging a competitive market and ensuring the interests of those using legal services continue to be protected, so we are keen to hear views on how best to do this.
“If there are options that we have not thought of that should be considered, we are very open to ideas.”