The amount paid out by the compensation fund increased by millions of pounds last year, new figures from the Solicitors Regulation Authority show.

The fund, for repaying clients who have lost money as a result of a firm’s dishonesty or misappropriation, made grants to the value of £23.8m in the 12 months to 31 October 2014.

This equates to a 43% rise on the £13.8m paid in 2013, which relates to a 10-month accounting period. In the calendar year 2012 it paid out £18.5m. 

At October 2014 the fund, paid for by contributions by solicitors, had £62.7m in cash and investments compared with £64.8m at the end of 2013.

During the 12 months to October 2014 the fund received 1,701 claims with an average value of £80,000.

SRA papers suggest the rise in the total payout is at least partly attributable to a £4.7m increase in closed claims. ’We were able to deal with them more quickly as a result of operational efficiencies in the team handling claims,’ an SRA spokesperson said.