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Solicitors still not able to act for both seller and buyer, whilst Licensed Conveyancers can

In 2018 the Government called for evidence as to how to improve what is considered to be “ a broken housing market”, and specifically to improve the whole conveyancing process for consumers.

One potential improvement mooted was “dual representation”- namely buyers and sellers using the same conveyancing firm in the same transaction. However, in its’ response published on the 8th April 2018, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government did not support this idea, citing that potential conflicts of interest outweighed the advantages of a speedier process. Accordingly, the Ministry concluded that it was “not minded” to take steps to encourage dual representation.

This differs to the rules for Licensed Conveyancers, who are regulated by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers, who by contrast are able to act for both parties in the same transaction. Edwina Ashworth, Director of property specialists Kirkham Legal, comments…”When this firm was established in 2009 by Kathryn Doogue and Bob Bouch, they both converted from being solicitors to Licensed Conveyancers, for 2 main reasons:-

1. to confirm their status as property specialists as opposed to most solicitors firms who undertake a number of types of legal work without particularly specialising in any and;
2. to take advantage of the opportunity to act for both seller and buyer in the same transaction, which is an attractive proposition for our clients and estate agent contacts, as it generally saves a great deal of time (and the subsequent frustration) in the conveyancing process.

I note the Ministry’s concerns, but safeguards are put in place to protect against conflicts of interests arising by, for example, different lawyers working for the parties, with different case supervisors, and for “Chinese walls” being created within the firm. We were last audited by the CLC in 2017, and our processes passed the stringent audit. I am firmly of the opinion that dual representation is good for clients as it speeds up the house-buying process, particularly as neither lawyer blames the other for delays, so the whole process becomes transparent. Dual representation is also popular with Estate Agents, as cases are dealt with quicker which means that fewer fall through..”

We are regulated by the CLC

Our Practice Licence Number is 11250.

Kirkham Legal

Kirkham Legal