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Solicitors/Conveyancers - Conflict of Interest

(9 Posts)
Karstan Wed 20-Jul-11 17:46:32

I know that different solicitors in the same office cannot carry out conveyancing on behalf of both vendor and seller unless there is a prior relationship.

Does any such rule apply for licensed conveyancers working in a firm of solicitors?

Collaborate Thu 21-Jul-11 00:17:07

Yes. It is a solicitors form so the same rules apply.

LittlePushka Thu 21-Jul-11 00:26:46

Yes, same rule because it is the firm as a whole which is regulated not the individual solicitors/clreks/conveyancers within it.

Rule is slightly relaxed if the transaction is considered not at arms length (eg transfers between family members) and in all cases each party has to give the firm their written consent to the firm acting for both parties.

(PS The vendor is the seller, but assumed you meant the seller and the buyer)

Karstan Thu 21-Jul-11 07:56:54

Doh! Meant vendors and buyers of course. Just found out 8 weeks in to our house purchase that vendors are using the same firm of solicitors. Coupled with their performance so far I'm fairly annoyed.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Thu 21-Jul-11 08:00:27

I would absolutely raise that with them, given that you didn't even know about it until now. The others will correct me if I'm wrong, but the normal course of events where there's a conflict of interest is that the firm should cease acting for both parties.

Collaborate Thu 21-Jul-11 09:40:01

That's right, although both parties can give their consent. Don't know if both have to be established clients. Are the solicitors in different offices?

Karstan Thu 21-Jul-11 10:21:28

All our dealings have been with a licensed conveyancer at the office local to us which is the office the vendors list but the solicitor overseeing is based in another office. We've never used solicitors before so no previous relationship and as we've only just found out we definitely haven't given written consent which I understand should be provided.

LittlePushka Thu 21-Jul-11 21:55:57

For what it is worth karstan I would say that unless it is a transaction which is not at arms length - eg transfers within a family - then whatever the solicitors conduct rules say I personally never act for the buyer and seller in a transaction because I think (and this is my own view, not the view of the SRA or Law Society or, indeed , most solicitors) it is difficult to negotiate a contract with your own firm where serious title matters arise- and impossible not to be in a conflict situation if at 2.30pm on the day of completion the monies have not arrived and you need to consider serving completion notices on the other side (for whom you also act). You simply cannot give impartial advice in those situations if you act for both parties.

Karstan Thu 21-Jul-11 22:48:23

Really going to have to think long and hard about whether we want to switch solicitors. We were hoping to exchange this week but a couple of things cropped up which have made that impossible and the conversations I've had this week suggest the solicitors are more interested in finishing the transaction than protecting my interests.

But on the other hand it's a straightforward purchase and I don't know whether I can stand a huge delay, really thought we'd have been moving by now. We're first time buyers and the property is standing empty

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