What to do About Poor Conveyancing Advice

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RESOURCES - Conveyancing Advice:
When you pay money for a service, you expect to receive that service. This applies in terms of conveyancing advice just as it does it any other situation. No matter how much you pay you expect at least a decent basic standard which is fit for purpose.
If you employ a budget conveyancer don't be fobbed off with sub standard advice. It is true that the doctrine of “you get what you pay for” is likely to apply to some element of the service, your calls and e-mails may not be returned or you might never get to speak to the person dealing with the file, but the quality and accuracy of the conveyancing advice should be of the same high professional standard whether you are paying £200 or £2,000.
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How Can Poor Conveyancing Advice Occur?

There should be no such thing as poor conveyancing advice from a practising professional and the Solicitor Regulation Authority/Council for Licensed Conveyancers would be interested to hear any examples. The unfortunate reality is that the housing boom of the early part of the last decade led to a shortage of conveyancers. Mass recruitment meant that, inevitably, there were people who entered the profession without having had any prior knowledge or experience of the law.

Many of these people received proper training and have gone on to become excellent conveyancers. A few however did not. Even worse, because of the high turnover of staff experienced in the conveyancing boom some went on to occupy positions of authority in the firms which employed them and became responsible for training others. In turn this created a culture within some firms of “learning from Alice” - picking up the bad habits of poor teachers and following certain rules without really understanding the law behind them.

Identifying Poor Conveyancing Advice

One of the main problems customers face is how to spot poor conveyancing advice. How do you know if the conveyancing advice you are given is incorrect if you don't know anything about conveyancing yourself?

The fact is, unless there is a hold up with your transaction as a result of a legal issue (as opposed to say, a delay with a mortgage offer or one of the parties being slow to respond to their conveyancer) you may never realise that you are receiving poor conveyancing advice. If some issue does arise however, and you suspect your conveyancer may be struggling with it, then ask him or her to explain the issue to you in a plain English way that you can understand. A good conveyancer who knows his subject should be able to do this. If yours cannot then it may be that he doesn't really understand the point and he is doing things in a certain way just because that's what he was taught to do in that situation.

Addressing Poor Conveyancing Advice

If you suspect that the conveyancing advice you are receiving is not what it should be then in the first instance you should ask to speak to your conveyancer's manager, principal or supervising solicitor. You will usually then either receive the correct advice or be reassured that your appointed conveyancer is doing a good job after all.

If you are still not satisfied however then it may be time to switch to another conveyancer. This step should not be taken lightly however. Although you should not lose any money provided you are on a no exchange no fee deal (any searches or land registry documents you have paid for can be passed on to your new conveyancer), switching conveyancers is likely to delay a transaction and may aggravate other parties and of course you may not get the result you are hoping for. If you do switch, ensure you let the other parties in the chain know (via the selling agents) of your reasons and ensure that your new conveyancers are aware of the need to act quickly.

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