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Solicitors reminded of responsibilities in PPI cases

Solicitors have been reminded of their responsibilities by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) when canvassing for clients that want help with claiming for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).

The High Court has ordered all those banks guilty of mis-selling PPI to pay back up to £4.5 billion in compensation to customers. Both the Ministry of Justice and Financial Ombudsman Service have provided consumers with detailed information on how to make a claim.

The SRA is aware of a number of firms offering to act for clients in making PPI claims and has issued a guidance note reminding practitioners of their professional duties and the need to decide how their actions adhere to the Principles and Outcomes set out in the SRA Handbook.

Richard Collins, SRA Executive Director, said: "There is obviously significant interest around the claiming of compensation for mis-sold PPI. Many consumers may find that processing their claim is straight-forward, while others may not. "Understandably, they may want a solicitor's help and a number of practices are offering their services in this area. Because of this, we felt it might be useful to remind the profession to bear in mind certain points if engaging in work of this kind."

The guidance reminds practitioners that clients and potential clients:

  • are not taken advantage of and do not suffer detriment
  • do not instruct a firm as a result of misleading information or publicity
  • have sufficient information to make informed decisions about instruction
  • receive independent advice and a proper standard of service

Richard Collins said: "As an example of what to watch out for, you may not be achieving the best outcomes for clients if you suggest that, by instructing your firm, clients will obtain a more favourable result than if they claimed themselves. You will need to substantiate any statements made. "You will also need to ensure any publicity relating to your charges is not misleading, such as where your charges are calculated as a percentage of any "compensation" recovered. And you will need to make clear whether VAT is included and any sums written off by a lender are included in the calculation."

The guidance note is available at www.sra.org.uk/PPI

 
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