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The cooperative approach

Firms at risk of intervention must cooperate fully and promptly with the regulator to avoid potentially disastrous consequences, warns Tony Guise

16 February 2010

Recent statistics from the SRA confirm that rapidly rising numbers of interventions and the mounting costs of archiving files would cost the profession an extra £3.6m next year. In the year to June 2009, the number of interventions increased by 20 per cent, with an expected 100 in the year to June 2010.

The power to intervene was introduced to protect the Solicitors Compensation Fund from becoming exposed to dishonesty on the part of solicitors so that the Law Society could close down firms with no notice (if necessary). The Solicitors Act 1941 granted power to intervene for breaches of the Accounts Rules but since then the power has expanded to include cases where the code has been broken and where the Indemnity Insurance Rules are breached. A recent change (introduced via the Legal Services Act 2007) has extended the consequences of intervention to former principals as well as principals at the time of the intervention and so the power has become all encompassing.

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