The introduction of the Law Society’s conveyancing quality scheme (CQS) promotes a solicitor firms good practice management standard and adherence to prudent and efficient conveyancing procedures.
This accreditation has certainly, and welcomely, drawn a line in the sand to differentiate the huge disparity of quality among the legal businesses offering conveyancing services in the market place. Indeed, functioning in this market without the CQS accreditation is becoming near impossible.
Reported recently by the Law Society Gazette’s website was the headline ‘1,000 firms face Santander panel exit over CQS’, this was a report into the requirement by major mortgage lender Santander that law firms who do not have CQS accreditation by a certain point will not be able to jointly act for the bank and it’s borrower customers. Presently, if you are a buyer of a house, your conveyancer can act for you and your lender, saving the need for two solicitors, saving considerable duplication delay, and saving two sets of solicitors’ legal fees.
The Law Society is therefore demanding better quality conveyancing for the public, and now lenders are demanding better quality for the legal work carried out by their solicitors. Low quality conveyancing can mean defects, mortgage fraud and money laundering, lenders do not want any of that on their books. A win-win for the public.
However, CQS is only open to actual solicitor firms who carry out conveyancing (i.e not licensed conveyancers or chartered legal executives). And even within solicitor firms, despite a similar previous warning to conveyancers by HSBC, and now Santander’s early warning to get CQS accredited, many solicitor firms have yet to even apply for CQS and this means that hundreds will be unable to act for you without losing the savings mentioned.
For buyers wanting to use their ‘tried tested and recommended’ conveyancing firm, and mortgage advisers and estate agents wanting to recommend certain conveyancing solicitors, whether a solicitor firm is CQS accredited is now going to be crucial, particularly with more lenders demanding CQS. Otherwise, clients are being sent down a avenue with a dead-end and everyone wastes their time and money.