Ireland’s Law Society votes to support PI insurance fund

Members of Ireland’s Law Society recently held a special general meeting in order to vote to hold a ballot by post in order to determine the financial support for a body of insurance specifically set up to provide professional indemnity insurance to its members.

Providing professional liability insurance to less than 30 per cent of Irish solicitors, the Solicitors Mutual Defence Fund has liabilities of €160 million despite its winding down.  90 per cent of its business liability insurance costs are being covered by reinsurance, but to make up the shortfall the Law Society’s council has proposed that a levy be placed on all practising solicitors for the sum of €200 annually over the course of the next decade.

The levy would be paid by those who have their insurance through both commercial insurance companies and through the SMDF.  Solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance can cost hundreds of thousands of euros for many firms.

Anywhere from 600 to 1000 members of the Law Society were present at the meeting, which was held in the Citywest Conference centre.  More than 80 individuals spoke at the meeting, and many more would have been in attendance had the postal ballot resolution not been in place.

The postal ballot can be made by the request of at least 100 solicitors, said the Law Society.  One member of the body, Vincent Crowley, stated he had collected in excess of 300 signatures in less than two days in the week previous to the meeting.  John Costello, society president, then sent an e-mail to all Law Society members in order to inform them that such a ballot would be taking place.

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