Solicitors today are facing a range of challenges, not least of all is the constant threat of negligence claims and therefore the need to be risk aware.

The Modern Conveyancer however has the advantage of technology to help them fight this battle.

An example in point is the recent case of a solicitor who was ordered to pay £1.8m in compensation for failing to inform their client of a nearby development. –Global Firm Negligent Over £25m Property Advice – Law Society Gazette 29/06/2015

To guard against this type of risk there are now Planning Alerts which will warn if a planning application, that may affect your client’s potential purchase, exists.

Planning Alerts are categorised into 4 different levels:

  •  Small Residential Planning Applications –  Smaller residential schemes (less than 10 dwellings)
  • Large Residential Planning Applications – Either unclassified or larger than 10 dwellings
  • Small Commercial Planning Applications – Generally developments less than 250m squared
  • Large Commercial Planning Applications – Developments over 250m square

Now, when conveyancers are acting for clients in their property purchase, they will not only know whether a nearby planning application exists but what category it is and whether additional investigation or searches are required. The Planning Alert will recommend an appropriate search which will give full details of the planning application which can then be given to the client, absolving the solicitor from any potential negligence claim.

How Searchpoint 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.

Using a search provider such as Searchpoint ensures that each property is screened against 20 potential hazards including Planning, 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.

Audit Trail

The screening is invaluable to identify potentially unknown risks or hazards. A Search Alert Report is stored on the case and 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.

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

Sample – Search Alert Report

Case Study – PlansearchPlus – Bird & Bird