A £1m emergency fund has been created for solicitors severely impacted by coronavirus and with accessible savings of less than £2,500.

SBA The Solicitors’ Charity, formerly known as the Solicitors Benevolent Association, will soon be accepting applications for its personal hardship fund from solicitors who find themselves in serious financial difficulty following the outbreak of Covid-19.

Applicants – who may have been placed on statutory sick pay because of coronavirus, have lost their job, or be self-employed and unable to practise – must have accessible savings within their household of less than £2,500. It is also expected that applicants will have taken advantage of available help such as mortgage payment holidays and will have started the process of applying for any applicable welfare benefits, the charity said.

Nick Gallagher, chief executive of SBA The Solicitors’ Charity said: ‘The Solicitors’ Charity has been helping solicitors for 160 years and in 2019 we awarded over £986,000 to solicitors in need. The situation many currently find themselves in is unexpected, stressful and many will be feeling that there is no light at the end of the tunnel, so it’s imperative the charity provides as much help as possible for those in need. The creation of this extra fund, initially of £1m, could provide a financial cushion and peace of mind vital to so many at this time.’

Earlier this week barristers were urged to donate to an emergency hardship fund for members of the bar, having been warned that demand for financial help is likely to outstrip supply. The Inns of Court have also created individual support packages aimed at pupils and very junior tenants.