Our History

SFE was the brain child of a small group of solicitors who had attended a conference on the 'Elderly Client' in the mid 1990's. They realised there was a need for a specialist group of lawyers who could advise older clients, in particular on the issues surrounding capacity, delegated decision making and long term care. For many firms it was an adjunct to probate, wills and tax planning but for some they were developing the area as a specialism within their Private Client Department.

An initial meeting took place at The Law Society to discuss a way forward. An initial steering group was set up, comprising of Danny Carter (formerly SFE Treasurer), Anne Edis (SFE President), Richard Smithies, Jan Wright and Michael Orr. The core group, put in a total of £450 into a kitty to get the ball rolling. This funded the initial activities of the group, which quickly grew. Those involved during this period gave up lots of their own time and never claimed any expenses to enable the group to get off the ground. It developed its aims and objectives, which essentially remain the same today. By focusing on sharing information between professionals, training and establishing best practice, older people, their family and carers will get good legal advice.

The name for the group was agreed upon as it was accepted that most older people would seek advice through a solicitor's practice, although our members comprise of solicitors, legal executives, barristers and others who work within a legal practice.

Finally in 1999, SFE was officially launched at the first National Conference in London. Over 100 people attended from England, Wales and Northern Ireland to hear speakers talk on some of the current issues affecting older clients. From that small group, SFE now has in excess of 1500 members. Members receive monthly newsletters to keep them in touch with the issues that affect older clients; regional and national training provides focused cost effective educational development and members can also use a private members forum to post questions about issues they have, which can provide solutions for the not so common problems encountered in legal practice. SFE aims to support members in the work they do and continues to be run by members for its members.