A total of 153 firms have entered a ‘cessation period’ and are at risk of closure after having failed to secure professional indemnity insurance (PII), the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) revealed today.

During the cessation period firms can deal only with existing instructions while they seek an insurer and may not take on new clients. If they fail to secure cover by 29 December they will have to close.

The 30-day extended indemnity period (EIP) ended at midnight on 30 October. Firms have until 6 November to notify the SRA and their insurer of their situation. 

The SRA had been notified of 226 firms that wished to begin the 90-day EIP, with 73 having since secured insurance.

Previously, firms entered the assigned risks pool, which closed on 1 October 2013.

A Law Society spokesman said the cessation period provides a further opportunity for firms to obtain insurance.

‘Solicitors should consider carefully how to communicate restrictions on accepting new work to clients and prepare for closure if they are unable to obtain PII cover by the end of the year,’ he said.