The Law Society has warned solicitors not to give into ?institutional bullying? as hundreds of law firms remain without professional indemnity insurance days before the expiry of the deadline for 2010.

Ten insurance firms providing solicitors with insurance have withheld offers of cover from a large number of firms, following a big rise in claims against lawyers this year.

Three members of the solicitors? governing body, the council of The Law Society, wrote to solicitors last week claiming that practices which had had claims lodged against their professional indemnity insurance were being denied cover without any proof of negligence on their part.

At the same time, banks have tightened the time frame within which law firms must fulfil their professional undertaking to register a bank?s interest in a client?s property.

?This is institutional bullying at a very acute time for many colleagues,? said Law Society council members James Cahill, Kevin O?Higgins and Brendan Twomey. ?If [these] two situations are occurring on a large scale, it will represent an all-out assault on the legal profession. If ever there was a need for collegiality and community support it is now and the solicitors of Ireland must defend themselves.?

The Law Society council members have written to colleagues in an effort to establish the extent of the problems. The society moved earlier this year to ease the demands on solicitors? indemnity funds by reducing the minimum cover per transaction from ?2.5m to ?1.5m, and by cutting the length of time that retiring solicitors must continue to renew their professional insurance cover from six years to two.

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