The Law Society Council has announced that on 5th July it has approved a Practising Certificate fee increase of £16 for 2012/13, following last year’s 23 per cent drop.
The PC fee will increase by 5% from £328 to £344, while the Council also approved the Solicitors Regulation Authority Board’s recommendation to increase individual Compensation Fund contributions from £60 to £92. The contribution for firms will rise from £722 to £1,340.
The practising fees meet the costs of regulation, carried out by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, much of the Law Society’s work as a professional body, and the levies the Law Society has to pay towards the costs of the Legal Services Board, the Legal Ombudsman and the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
Last year, PC fees dropped from £428 to £328 to reflect reduced net funding requirement of the Law Society Group for 2011/2012.
Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson said:
“The funding requirement to meet the budget for 2013 would have been just over £100m, but during the current year, the Law Society group has accessed £10m from reserves, mainly to meet overrun costs on certain IT projects. In order to gradually rebuild those reserves, the proposed 2013 net funding requirement has been set at £103.5m. The alternative, to replenish those reserves in one go with a large increase in the PC fee, would have placed an unnecessary burden on the profession.”
In 2010/2011 the net funding requirement of the Law Society Group was £121.7m.
Solicitors Regulation Authority Chief Executive Antony Townsend said:
“We recognise the imperative to keep regulatory costs to the minimum required to regulate effectively and to protect the public interest. The SRA’s net funding requirement for 2013 has reduced. The increase in Compensation Fund fees follow a period of historically low fees, and is necessary to ensure that we have sufficient funds to cover predicted claims, and to minimise the likelihood of us having to seek further funding in-year.”
The proposals will be submitted to the Legal Services Board for formal approval.