What are licensed conveyancers and are they cheaper than solicitors?

Tue 05 Jul 2016 by Lorraine Imhoff

Written by Lorraine Imhoff

Not all people and firms who carry out property Conveyancing are Solicitors.

Licensed Conveyancers are also authorised to do Conveyancing, and may either work with a firm of Solicitors or on their own.

Since 1985 the Council of Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) has been empowered to issue licences to qualified individuals, allowing them to provide conveyancing services. 

The CLC sets educational and training standards which applicants have to achieve. It also sets standards to regulate the professional practice, conduct and discipline of licensed Conveyancers, and maintains a compensation fund to protect consumers.

Many individual Licensed Conveyancers work for firms of Solicitors, where their qualifications and legal knowledge allows them to provide a high standard of service to clients. If your work will be handled by such a person this should be explained to you at the start of the case. 

Some Licensed Conveyancers have set up their own firms, which are regulated by the CLC. Such firms can deal with all aspects of Conveyancing work, but may not provide a full range of legal services in the same way that a firm of Solicitors can. However some Licensed Conveyancers are now permitted to carry out probate work if they have the necessary training and experience.

Are Licensed Conveyancers cheaper than Conveyancing Solicitors?

There does not seem much difference between Conveyancing costs charged by Solicitors and those charged by Licensed Conveyancers – the latter are not necessarily any cheaper. As always, it pays to shop around and get quotes from a number of different firms before deciding. 

A firm of Licensed Conveyancers may not be able to give advice on litigation matters, if the terms of their professional indemnity insurance will not allow them to do anything other than Conveyancing. Although Conveyancing generally does not involve any litigation or applications to a court or tribunal, this does sometime arise out of a Conveyancing cases. 

Homeward Legal works with both licensed conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors for purchase and sale conveyancing, transfers of equity and remortgage. You can get a quick quote here to see the fixed conveyancing fees instantly.

For example a seller or buyer may default on a contract and refuse to complete, or a buyer may claim that there has been a misdescription about the property by the seller. Should such a dispute arise when work is being handled by Licensed Conveyancers, the client may have to consult a firm of Solicitors who can provide the necessary advice and take any required action through the courts. 

Firms of Licensed Conveyancers may also be restricted in the services they can provide in connection with lease extensions, enfranchisement cases, and similar work relating to leasehold property. While they can handle such work as the completion of a new lease, they may not be able to continue to act if a case has to be referred to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (previously the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal) or the County Court. 

Firms and individuals who provide Conveyancing services must now make clear to the public whether they are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or the CLC. This information should be included on web-sites as well as on letters, so you should be able to see whether the firm you are proposing to instruct are Solicitors or Licensed Conveyancers.

Many firms providing Conveyancing services now use the phrase ‘Property Lawyers’ in their name. This does not have any precise legal meaning, and can apply to both Conveyancing Solicitors and Licensed Conveyancers.

If in doubt, you can always check with the SRA and the CLC to find out which organisation regulates a particular firm.

Homeward Legal only works with Solicitors regulated by the SRA.

All are members of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme, which ensures you will receive the very highest standards of service. 

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