The Law Society Group recently presented draft plans which would mean solicitors pay the same practising certificate (PC) fees in 2018-19 as they did this year.
Joe Egan, President of the Law Society of England and Wales, said that both the Law Society and Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) are making efforts to improve efficiency.
The proposed fee of £278 displays a decrease of £32 over the last three years, which represents a reduction of 10%. The fee has actually gone down by 28% since 2014.
President Egan said: “Around the world, we promote England and Wales as a global legal centre, open new markets and defend human rights. Our efforts underpin a growing legal services sector worth £25.7bn annually to the economy.”
He also believes that this fee of the PC supports the Law Society’s work in certain areas, including promotion of the legal profession, safeguarding the rule of law and influencing the government on key issues.
“By making considerable efficiency savings across the Society, along with an increase in the number of solicitors on the roll, we are able to freeze fees while delivering greater value to members”, he added.
The £278 fee that’s been proposed includes levies for the Legal Services Board, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and the Legal Ombudsman.
Enid Rowlands, Chair of the SRA, said: “It’s important that the practising certificate fees offer value for money for the profession, while ensuring that we can protect the public and support the rule of law and the administration of justice.”
This fee is also set to cover the costs of the regulation work undertaken by the SRA. However, it does not cover the contributions to the Compensation Fund, and this poses a slight issue.
The Compensation Fund is there to reimburse people who have suffered financial difficulty because of a solicitor’s dishonesty or failure to account for client money.
Despite the positive news of the PC fee being frozen, the Compensation Fund contributions that have to be paid are set to increase by more than double the current figure.
In 2018-19, contributions by individual solicitors will go from the current £40 to £90, and firm contributions will increase from £778 to £1,680.
The newly proposed PC fee is open for consultation and the results will be considered at the Annual General Meeting on 5th July 2018.
If it’s approved, the fee will go to the oversight regulator (the Legal Services Board) for final approval