What is the conveyancing quality scheme or 'CQS'?

Fri 25 Jul 2014 by Lorraine Imhoff

Written by Lorraine Imhoff

The Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) has been set up by the Law Society to give home-buyers and sellers a recognisable benchmark when choosing a Conveyancing Solicitor. Look for the CQS logo displayed on a firm’s website and letterheads or check with the Law Society’s website to see if a firm is a member of the scheme. http://www.lawsocietyapproved.com/Conveyancing.aspx

Conveyancing Quality Scheme Solicitors will:

  • explain the steps in buying or selling a home
  • tell you what service you can expect from them
  • be honest about what the costs will be
  • keep you informed through the process

Membership of the scheme is not achieved by merely paying a subscription – firms are vetted to ensure that they can offer both high professional expertise and good practice management standards.

And once a firm has become an accredited member of the scheme, they have to continue to demonstrate that they are meeting the standards of the scheme.

The Law Society monitors the work of member firms, and Solicitors and members of their staff have to show that their training and professional skills are kept up-to-date.

CQS firms can act for any mortgage lender

One of the benefits of instructing a CQS-member firm is that they will readily be able to act for virtually all mortgage lenders. In recent years many lenders have reduced the number of law firms on their panels, and buyers often find their lender is not prepared to instruct their preferred Solicitor. This can lead to delays and increased costs.

The CQS Scheme has been officially recognised by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) and the Building Societies Association (BSA), as well as the Legal Ombudsman. This means that lenders such as HSBC, Santander, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank have all recognised that Conveyancing Quality Scheme members provide a service that can be trusted.

A major element of the scheme is the Conveyancing protocol which all member firms must follow. This sets out in considerable detail the steps which must be followed in every case, to ensure that all work is dealt with as efficiently as possible.Use of the protocol is designed to improve communications between all parties involved, and reduce unnecessary delays.

Lack of transparency in conveyancing

One of the criticisms that has rightly been raised in the past is the lack of transparency in Conveyancing transactions. The protocol recognises that most people only rarely buy or sell a property, and are not familiar with all parts of the procedure.

Members of the scheme must keep their own clients fully informed of progress in their transactions, as well as communicating promptly with the other Solicitors, estate agents and others involved.

It greatly helps any transaction when Solicitors acting for both seller and buyer are CQS members, but of course it is up to each party to choose their own lawyer. 

While it is to be hoped that there will be no cause for clients to raise a complaint in any transaction, this does sometimes arise.

CQS firms must appoint a 'Senior Responsible Officer'

All CQS Solicitors must appoint a Senior Responsible Officer to respond to any complaints raised by clients, and any such problems should be handled courteously and promptly.

It is therefore best to contact the firm first to try and resolve the difficulties, but if this does not lead to a satisfactory outcome there is always further recourse to the independent Legal Ombudsman.

If you want your Conveyancing to be handled as well as possible always look out for a CQS Solicitor.

At Homeward we have already done this for you – all of our members are part of the scheme.

This is your guarantee that your work will be handled to the highest professional standards and together with our fixed price promise means you won’t find a better deal anywhere else.


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