Are you about to move home? It's likely that you'll need a professional to help with all the legal things that go with it. But not all people or firms who offer property conveyancing are solicitors. Licensed conveyancers also have the authority to do the searches and paperwork that go hand in hand with a property sale or purchase.

A licensed conveyancer either works on their own or as part of a firm of solicitors. But what are the main differences? How do you decide between a solicitor or conveyancer? And what can you expect if you call on a licensed conveyancer to help with your upcoming move? Here's what you need to know so that your move goes without a hitch.

What is a licensed conveyancer? 

Since 1985, the Council of Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) can issue licences to qualified lawyers who deal with all the legal matters involved when buying or selling property in England and Wales. With this licence, these professionals can then provide conveyancing services.

A licensed conveyancer is also a Commissioner for Oaths. It provides them with the legal power to witness official documents. This can include affidavits that swear a statement is the truth. 

What is the Administration of Justice Act 1985?

Up until 1987, it was more than likely you'd have to use a solicitor when moving home. But the Administration of Justice Act 1985 permits licensed conveyancers to offer their help to people buying and selling a property. It also helped to reduce the workload for solicitors too. However it wasn't until 1987 that the CLC implemented the changes set out by the Administration of Justice Act.

Is a solicitor and a conveyancer the same thing?

The short answer is no. 

There are two main differences between a solicitor and a conveyancer. The first is their legal expertise. A solicitor is likely to have a greater knowledge of property law in its widest sense. But a licensed conveyancer only specialises in the paperwork, contracts and finances if you're buying or selling a home.

The other main difference is who regulates them. Firms or individuals who offer conveyancing services must make clear to the public who they are regulated by. For a solicitor, it should be the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). For a licensed conveyancer, it'll be the CLC. 

Many firms who provide conveyancing services now use the phrase 'property lawyers' in their name. But this doesn't have any precise legal meaning - and it can apply to both solicitors or licensed conveyancers alike.

The important thing to remember is that, despite their differences, you can trust solicitors or licensed conveyancers to take care of legal matters if you're moving home. 

Homeward Legal works with both licensed conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors and can help you find the professional you need. You can phone us now on - or get a quick quote online.

What can a licensed conveyancer do?

Just like a solicitor, a licensed conveyancer can deal with all the legal aspects if you're moving home. From searches to contracts, you can trust their knowledge and experience to make the process of buying or selling property much easier.

A licensed conveyancer may not be able to give advice on litigation matters, however. This will be the case if their professional indemnity insurance only lets them do conveyancing. The good news is that conveyancing won't usually involve litigation or applications to a court or tribunal. 

But it can sometimes happen.

A seller or buyer may default on the contract and refuse to complete, for example. Or a buyer may claim the seller has misdescribed the property. 

If such a dispute arises when work is being handled by a licensed conveyancer, you may need to consult a solicitor. Only then can you get the necessary advice and take any required action through the courts.

Licensed conveyancers may also be restricted in the services they can provide in connection to lease extensions, enfranchisement cases, and similar work relating to leasehold property. 

A licensed conveyancer can handle work such as the completion of a new lease. But they might not be able to continue acting on your behalf if the case goes to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) or the County Court.

Some licensed conveyancers can now carry out probate work with the necessary experience and training, however.

Where do licensed conveyancers work?

Many licensed conveyancers work for solicitor firms. As such, they can use their qualifications and legal knowledge to provide you with a high standard of service. If your work is dealt with by such a person, you should be told this at the start of the case.

Some licensed conveyancers might set up their own firms. These can deal with all aspects of conveyancing work. But, unlike a firm of solicitors, they may not provide a full range of legal services. Be sure to make sure the firm is regulated by the CLC too.

If you're ever in doubt about a licensed conveyancer, you can check if they're regulated by the CLC. But you can be assured that Homeward Legal will only work with conveyancers with the necessary skills, qualifications and licence to offer their services.

All our professionals are members of the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme too. It means you can expect to receive the very highest standards of service. To instruct a licensed conveyancer you can trust, call us now on or get a conveyancing quote online.

What does the CLC do?

The CLC sets the educational and training standards that applicants must achieve to become licensed conveyancers. It also sets standards that regulate the professional practice, conduct and discipline of all individuals and firms. 

In addition, the CLC maintains a compensation fund to protect you if something goes wrong.

Are licensed conveyancers cheaper than conveyancing solicitors?

There doesn't seem to be much difference in the cost of a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer.  The latter won't necessarily work out cheaper. 

As Homeward Legal works with both licensed conveyancers and solicitors, we're able to make sure you get the professional help you need. From buying and selling to transfers of equity or remortgagingget a quick quote and find out the fixed legal* conveyancing fees in an instant.

*Fixed Legal Fee - Your quote from Homeward Legal will cover common conveyancing costs in line with the information you've provided to us. Depending on the specific circumstances of your transaction, and after discussion with your solicitor, there may be additional non-standard fees which would be in addition to the fee quoted by Homeward Legal. 

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