Articles filed under Conveyancing

Craig TaylorIf you ask an insurer what the three biggest risks are when providing cover to a law firm they will likely respond with ‘conveyancing, conveyancing and conveyancing’. An ever-increasing market pressure on price and a push towards high-volume, low-margin workloads in an extremely competitive market are doing nothing to reduce a law firm’s exposure to risk. Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) is probably a firm’s biggest cost after salaries, and reports indicate that sole practitioners are paying around 7 per cent of turnover.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) suggests that property represents a disproportionate level of negligence and that residential conveyancing accounts for 26 per cent of indemnity payouts, with one of the root causes being lack of adequate risk management.

The big question is what steps can you take to mitigate risk as a modern forward-thinking firm whilst increasing efficiencies and remaining competitive? Here is some advice for a law firm on how to reduce risk:


It is widely reported that due to the increase in government taxes on buy-to-let landlords in April coupled with the uncertainty created by the Brexit vote in June this year, the British housing market is under significant pressure. According to the British Bankers’ Association, the number of homes that were bought in June were down by 10% compared to the corresponding period in 2015. Of course, it is difficult presently to accurately identify any long term trends, but there is a risk that property prices might fall in the near to medium term.

It isn’t all doom and gloom, though. With a weaker pound, property is comparatively cheaper for foreign investors and some conveyancers are expecting to take advantage of the demand from international purchasers.

free2conveyFree2Convey is the first live, available to use and free online conveyancing portal in the UK and is backed by the Legal Software Suppliers Association.

LSSA is the representative body of legal software suppliers and works to promote an increased adoption and use of technology in law firms. As a representative body the LSSA also works to the benefits of its members by lobbying for information and updates that may assist in a collective development of technology in order to meet mandatory regulations and requirements which in turn percolates down to the law firms using each individual suppliers system. The LSSA also operates a Code of Conduct that members adhere to providing peace of mind to law firms buying software from LSSA members.

I began my conveyancing career in 1974 as an office boy with J W Ward & Sons in Bristol, Halcyon days: postal exchanges, personal completions, unregistered titles aplenty, a few legal indemnity insurance policies because experienced conveyancers could “take a view”. Less stress, hassle and anxiety for all concerned. Wind the clock forward 40 plus years, and the home buying and selling process is worse, not better. ABSs haven’t changed the world, online conveyancing is hit and miss. Maybe, just maybe, that is about to change?

My big interest in Veyo comes from the fact that I run the Bold Legal Group (BLG), a network of over 350 conveyancing law firms of all shapes and sizes. My role is to look out for them: SRA Fraud Alerts, Law Society Practice Notes, scam emails, CML Handbook changes and pretty much anything that affects a conveyancing firm. The greatest benefit of being a BLG member is that they all assist each other. For once, lawyers/conveyancers have joined together in order to help each other and to begin the fight back from being at the bottom of the food chain.

The Law Society is currently working on the development of an online conveyancing portal to transform the conveyancing process for the benefit of solicitors, clients and stakeholders. It will be provide a pan-industry solution, accessible by conveyancing solicitors and licensed conveyancers, and will improve the collaboration and communication between all parties and stakeholders. Clients and, over time, lenders will also have controlled access to monitor progress and case milestones.

You can view videos on the Law Society website that outline the concept and describe the benefits it will deliver to manage risk, cost and improve collaboration (

Nearly a decade ago a Law Commission/Land Registry report described a future landscape for conveyancing. The report set out a vision for e-conveyancing network. It felt very much like automated conveyancing and some worried that Land Registry wanted to take over the role of conveyancers.

The focus of property professionals over the last 12 months, in the residential sphere at least, has been on the fated Home Information Packs (HIPs). Contrast this with the almost staid, and certainly measured, progress of e-conveyancing, which has been quite content to remain in the shadows whilst its more glamorous younger sister HIPs has grabbed the limelight. So what exactly has been going on in the world of e-conveyancing?