For many years all conveyancing in Britain had to be done by a solicitor. That monopoly was broken first by the acceptance of do-it-yourself conveyancing; and then in 1987 legislation was passed to remove the monopoly on professional conveyancing services from solicitors as well.
The result: a new type of specialist property lawyer termed a Licensed Conveyancer, someone who is trained and qualified in all aspects of the law dealing with property. A Licensed Conveyancer can act for buyers, sellers and lenders. The professional who handles your property transaction is still a qualified lawyer, and the client has exactly the same legal protection as with a Solicitor.
The average solicitor handles a wide range of cases. Conveyancing is an important part of most practices, but the partners will also deal with court cases and other legal matters.
Because we specialise in property transactions, we can remain focussed on the special considerations of conveyancing - including for instance the changes to the law on buying and selling of property that have been introduced recently. We probably won't be out of the office when you call, because we don't have to attend at court.
The individual and the practice have to undergo a rigorous examination by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers before they are allowed to call themselves Licensed Conveyancers, and the Council enforces a rigid code of conduct.
That includes a complaints procedure, and we are also required to have Professional Indemnity Insurance which protects the customer against loss in the event of the Licensed Conveyancer being negligent when carrying out the conveyancing. We also have to contribute to a Compensation Fund; that protects the customer against loss in the event that the Licensed Conveyancer fails to act properly or is dishonest or fraudulent.
Each year we have to apply for the Licence that allows us to offer conveyancing services to the public, and we won't get it if our procedures or practices don't come up to scratch. We will also be refused a Licence if we can't show that we have Professional Indemnity Insurance.
Find out more about the operation of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.