Conveyancing Negligence Claims on the Increase?

Property transactions account for more negligence claims against solicitors than any other type of legal work.

Solicitors and Licensed Conveyancers face a difficult balancing act.

During the recession, firms experienced a slump in revenue from conveyancing work. The main reasons for this were:

  • The number of property transactions decreased dramatically.
  • Conveyancing ‘factories’ started emerging after the Legal Services Act 2007 which allowed non-lawyer organisations to provide legal services for the first time. These ‘factories’ employed unqualified (and therefore comparatively cheaper) staff and undercut solicitors rates.
  • Solicitors were forced to cut their fees in order to attract what work there was

As a result, many law firms across the country made redundancies, forcing some conveyancers to retrain in other areas of law or leave the profession.

Now that the property market has recovered firms are busy again and are trying to recruit more staff to cope with demand. As firms take on more conveyancing work there is a danger that without the resources to deal with it properly mistakes will be made, clients will lose out and negligence claims will inevitably follow.

Added to this backdrop are two recent new stories which highlight just how carefully the Conveyancer needs to tread:

“Fracking could reduce house prices, government report claims”

– Channel 4 News, Thursday 02/07/2015

Channel 4 News, as well as SKY News and the Telegraph, are all reporting on a government report into fracking which suggests house prices may be affected by as much as 7% in areas where fracking takes place as well as increased insurance premiums due to an added risk of explosion for properties within a 5 mile radius.

  Read the article here (SKY NEWS)

“Global firm negligent over £25m property advice”

– Law Society Gazette, Monday 29/06/2015

The Law Society Gazette reports on a solicitor ordered to pay £1.8m in damages for failing to inform their clients of a proposed new development close to the property they were buying which would have negatively affected the use of the house.

Read the full article here

How we can help

Your search provider should be a partner who can support you and add value to the conveyancing process. Searchpoint is an intelligent platform that can recognise when potentially unknown hazards may be present, making you aware of when additional searches may be necessary.

Both of these types of risks can be mitigated through the use of appropriate searches. But which searches should you order? Using a search provider such as Searchpoint ensures that each property is screened for Energy Exploration (Fracking) and 15 other potential hazards including infrastructure projects such as HS2 & Crossrail and energy schemes such as Wind and Solar Farms.

If your client is purchasing a property which could be affected by one of these hazards an appropriate search is recommended. What’s more a Search Alert Report can be printed and given to your client as evidence of the screening. Should any problems occur you will have hard evidence of your due diligence and any PI claim should be able to be successfully defended.

Live planning applications would be revealed by a Planning Search, furthermore, potential development sites could be revealed through a DEVASSESS search.

For more information on Searchpoint please visit our website: SEARCHPOINT or contact Tony Clarke (Director) on 0845 680 5608