What are Licensed Conveyancers?

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RESOURCES - Conveyancers:
Conveyancers are legal professionals and perform the role of the mediator in the case of property transactions.
At one time only solicitors were allowed to act as conveyancers. This was confirmed in the Solicitors Act 1974 (parts of which have now been repealed by the Legal Services Act 2007). As home ownership among the masses increased however the number of people requiring the services of conveyancers increased rapidly, far exceeding any other area of the law, and so in 1985 as part of the [insert act] Act a new type of specialist conveyancers, licensed conveyancers, were introduced to ease the burden and increase competition (and so reduce conveyancers' fees).
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What Can Licensed Conveyancers Do?

There are two levels of licensed conveyancers, part licence holders and full licence holders. A part licence holder is only able to work for a firm of solicitors or licensed conveyancers - he cannot set up on his own but he can sign certain documents which require a qualification and he can describe himself as a licensed conveyancer. He can also deal with a conveyancing transaction privately provided he is not required to hold any client money.

A full licence holder can do anything that a solicitor can do so far as conveyancing goes though unlike solicitors, licensed conveyancers are specialist conveyancers and cannot practice any other area of the law. Having said that, it is now possible for licensed conveyancers to take further exams to allow them to practice wills and probate, which many solicitor conveyancers also practice.

Who is in Charge of Licensed Conveyancers?

Just like solicitors, licensed conveyancers are bound by the Legal Services Act 2007. The governing body of licensed conveyancers s the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC). Just as solicitors must be registered with the Law Society, all licensed conveyancers, including part license holders, must be registered with the CLC. If they practice as conveyancers whilst not registered they are committing a criminal offence and may be prosecuted. Just like solicitors, licensed conveyancers must maintain a high standard of conduct and failure to do so may lead to their licences being revoked.

Are Licensed Conveyancers as Good as Solicitors?

Some people are nervous about using licensed conveyancers and wonder whether they are as qualified as solicitors. In fact, a solicitor who has no practical experience in conveyancing would be permitted to deal with a conveyancing transaction, though in practice firms who regularly accept conveyancing work will have a solicitor who specialises in the field.

Licensed conveyancers study conveyancing and land law specifically and only practice in this area so provided they are a few years post qualified they should have the necessary experience. what this means in that in reality solicitor conveyancers and licensed conveyancers should be equally good at conveyancing.

It is rare that you will need help with any other area of the law during a conveyancing transaction (as mentioned above some licensed conveyancers can now practice probate but by no means all) but if you do, for example there is a dispute and you want to sue a buyer or seller or you find squatters in your house and need them removed, then a licensed conveyancer will not be able to help you and whilst neither will a specialist conveyancer at a solicitors' firm, someone else in the firm usually will.

RESOURCES - Conveyancers:

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