By: 11 March 2024
SRA investigates SSB Law collapse

The aftermath of the collapse of SSB Law has left many clients facing substantial legal bills, prompting investigations by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) into the firm’s practices and potential breaches of professional standards.

 

SSB Law, based in Sheffield, specialised in handling cavity wall claims, with thousands of clients potentially affected by the fallout.

One of the key issues under scrutiny is the failure of After the Event (ATE) insurance providers to cover defendants’ costs in these cases, leaving many clients unexpectedly liable. The SRA is delving into the firm’s operations, including its assessment of claim merits, disclosure of potential liabilities to clients, and communication regarding ATE insurance policies. Directors and employees of SSB may also face interviews to shed light on these matters.

The SRA’s investigation extends beyond SSB’s conduct to involve discussions with financial regulators, including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). These discussions aim to address broader issues surrounding ATE insurance and surveyors’ roles in legal services, with a focus on consumer protections and potential market gaps.

 

The SRA stated;

“We expect solicitors to provide a competent service, and act in the best interest of their clients. We are investigating whether SSB Group acted in compliance with our professional standards.”

“As part of our investigation, we need to understand why ATE insurance providers haven’t paid the defendants’ costs in these cases. In terms of SSB Group, we will investigate a range of issues including whether the firm properly assessed the merits of claims, explained any potential liabilities to clients and what information it gave to its clients about the ATE insurance policies.”

“Our investigation is ongoing. As part of this we are inspecting a sample of client files and checking the firm’s systems and processes. We will also interview its directors and/or employees where necessary and engage with the ATE providers to clarify any information.”

The investigation into SSB is expected to continue until autumn, highlighting the complexity of such regulatory processes. Meanwhile, ongoing discussions with regulatory bodies and government entities underscore the need for reforms to enhance consumer protections in legal services, particularly concerning ATE insurance.

 

Image: Canva.
Emma Cockings
Emma is the content editor for Yorkshire Legal News. Emma is an experienced writer with a background in client-centric personal injury law for a major firm. She has attended and reported on numerous high-profile legal events in Yorkshire.