Getting your conveyancing right is essential when buying or selling property. It ensures that the sale is progressed properly, that all your legal obligations have been correctly taken care of and for buyers, that you do not end up with any nasty surprises after the deal is done.
Using a regulated conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer means you can be confident that your conveyancing is handled correctly.
In this article, we will explain who regulates conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors, what can go wrong during conveyancing, how to report any problems and how to find a conveyancer you can rely on.
The Conveyancing Quality Scheme
The Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) is run by the Law Society – the body that represents solicitors in England and Wales. The CQS accredits law firms offering residential conveyancing and requires members to demonstrate compliance with the highest standards of professional practice.
A Conveyancing Quality Scheme best practice mark, therefore, acts as a strong trust factor that a particular team of conveyancing solicitors has the necessary skills and experience to provide a reliable service.
When using a conveyancing solicitor, you should also make sure that their law firm is Lexcel accredited, which is the Law Society’s general quality mark for excellence in legal practice management and client care.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) sets the standards for all solicitors and law firms in England and Wales, including conveyancing solicitors. They establish general principles and a code of conduct for their members, and monitor solicitors and their firms to make sure they are following the rules.
The SRA also investigates complaints and, where necessary, can take regulatory action. This can include handing out official reprimands, referring solicitors to the independent Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and even closing down law firms in the most extreme cases.
The SRA also runs a compensation fund for people who have lost money due to a solicitor acting dishonestly or failing to correctly account for money they have received.
The Council for Licensed Conveyancers
The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) regulates those conveyancers who are not solicitors, but instead are specialists, trained only in conveyancing. The CLC sets education and training standards for licensed conveyancers, issues licences to and maintains a register of practitioners, monitors standards, investigates allegations of misconduct and takes disciplinary action when required.
What can go wrong with conveyancing?
Some problems that can occur with poor quality conveyancing include:
- Not being able to get hold of your conveyancer.
- Being billed for costs you weren’t made aware of in advance.
- Your conveyancer missing something in their searches e.g. a right of way across your property or issues with a boundary with a neighbour’s property.
To avoid situations such as these, you should always pick an appropriately accredited and regulated conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer.
What to do if you have a problem with your conveyancer
If you have a problem with the person handling your conveyancing, you should speak to them first to try to resolve the issue. If you cannot achieve a satisfactory resolution, you can then report them to the Legal Ombudsman. They will investigate and attempt to agree a mutually acceptable resolution. If this is not possible, the ombudsman will make a judgement based on what they believe is fair and reasonable. The Legal Ombudsman will attempt to resolve issues as quickly as possible, so is often the fastest option for dealing with a complaint.
If necessary, the Legal Ombudsman may pass your complaint onto the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Council for Licensed Conveyancers for further action. This can include fines, disqualification or even the closure of the conveyancing solicitor’s or licensed conveyancer’s practice.
Find a conveyancing team you can rely on
Bird & Co Solicitors is a long-established law firm offering conveyancing services for properties across England and Wales from our 3 offices in the East Midlands. We are accredited by the Conveyancing Quality Scheme and in good standing with the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Our conveyancing team regularly handles all types of residential conveyancing, so whatever type of property you are buying or selling, we can help make the process as fast, smooth and simple as possible.
To find out more about our conveyancing services, call us today on 01476 591711 or use our contact page to find details of your nearest office.