Who are SFE?

SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly) was set up in 1996 and set out to be a specialist group of lawyers to support and make a difference to older and vulnerable people. By vulnerable we mean people who may not be able bodied and/or who may be mentality incapacitated i.e. they need help to make decisions or they can’t make decisions for themselves.

SFE is now a national organisation with over 1600 members across the United Kingdom and a separate group in the Republic of Ireland, all of whom are fully committed to our ethos.

We support our members by providing them with expert training and best practice: keep them up to date with any market developments; promote them through our website and press coverage; help them to help each other through our members advice forum as well as running national and regional events and keeping them up to date with the latest case law related to older clients.

We speak out in the press on behalf of our members about any proposed changes and developments which we believe will adversely affect older clients.

We also work hard behind the scenes with various government, legal bodies and other organisations to ensure our voice and the voice of older people is heard.

Only a very select group of people can become members of SFE. They must be fully qualified, regulated and insured solicitors, barristers or chartered legal executives and they must spend at least 50% of their time working with older and vulnerable clients.

SFE is a community of trusted advisers – professionally highly qualified and regulated and who also have additional skills to enable them to work with older and vulnerable clients.

SFE’s structure

SFE is a membership organisation run by its members for its members. It comprises of a board of directors, a chief executive officer, and an administrator. In addition, it has an advisory board and an expert panel.

Board of Directors

The SFE board is comprised of members of SFE. The board meets four times a year and is responsible for setting policy and strategy for SFE. All board members must be Full Accredited Members of SFE.

Board members are authorised to make statements on behalf of SFE. The board has a duty to ensure the smooth, professional running of SFE.

Advisory Board

The advisory board is comprised of a number of SFE’s regional directors, who are themselves all members of SFE.

The advisory board is there to help the board with the running of SFE and to input into strategy. The advisory board is also there to represent SFE members.

Expert Panel

The expert panel is made up of experts in the field of Older Client Law and associated areas, who input into the SFE training curriculum and best practice guidelines. The expert panel also helps with the quality assurance process for SFE’s accredited standards and assessments.

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.

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.


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.