A tool to help law firms when preparing to terminate commercial leases at the end of their contractual term, has been published by Lockton, the insurance brokers for the Law Society of Scotland's Master Policy.

The notice to quit calculator allows a solicitor to input all relevant details for the lease, including whether or not the firm is acting on behalf of the landlord or the tenant, and the start and expiry dates. The calculator will then work out the relevant notice period and highlight the last possible date that the notice to quit should be issued on. 

Designed by Steven Thomson, a senior associate at Morton Fraser in Edinburgh, the calculator won the second Innovation Cup competition for new risk management aids, run jointly by the Society, Lockton and Master Policy lead insurers RSA, and has been developed by Lockton for use by the profession. It can be viewed and downloaded from Lockton’s website. 

As a supplementary document, Lockton has also published a commercial notices service checklist. This has been designed to help firms spot other types of risk associated with the drafting and service of a break notice (e.g. errors in method of service, incorrect addressee etc).

Murray Etherington, the Law Society of Scotland’s Insurance Committee convener commented: "I would strongly encourage law firms to use the calculator. This is a complex area of law and one which has been the source of professional negligence claims under the Master Policy. It’s a great tool which provides an additional check for solicitors when faced with the complexities of date calculations and a requirement to serve notices timeously."

He added: "Risk management should be one of the top priorities for all law firms and at the forefront of all practitioners’ minds. The Law Society’s Insurance Committee is keen to ensure that firms are armed with tools such as this one to help them avoid or mitigate the risk of professional indemnity claims."

This year’s Innovation Cup competition is currently being judged. The winner will be announced at the end of this month.