It may be hard to distinguish between professional and highly qualified Conveyancing Solicitors and licensed conveyancers.
In the past the distinction never even existed. Before 1987 consumers had no choice but to turn to a solicitor to carry out their conveyancing needs. But as more and more people got on the property ladder and more and more legal resources were being dedicated purely to conveyancing it was time for a change and for the profession to open its doors a little.
The 1985 Administration of Justice Act authorized Licensed Conveyancers to offer their services to consumers. The Council for Licensed Conveyancers describes the profession as follows: “A Licensed Conveyancer is a qualified specialist lawyer who concentrates solely on dealing with property or conveyancing. As a result, Licensed Conveyancers operate under a bespoke regulatory framework, which is designed specifically to continually ensure consumer protection for users of services provided by Licensed Conveyancers. ”
So, while a Licensed Conveyancer is legally qualified to give you the service you need and formally regulated to prevent mishaps, he or she may not have qualified as a solicitor.
A Conveyancing Solicitor, on the other hand, will have studied wider aspects of the law in qualifying as a professional and only later he or she will have chosen to specialize in the aspects of property law necessary to provide competent conveyancing.
In the end the differences between the two definitions may not be as important as the job that gets done. The person offering the cheapest deal may not always be able to provide the best service and it pays to choose carefully whoever you instruct to carry out your conveyancing. London, in particular, can be a difficult market with a denser population than the rest of the country and considerable competition for your business. As with all businesses in this economic climate it pays to shop around, but it also pays to find someone you trust who has a reputation for getting the job done in the timeline promised.
The recent changes to the law introducing the Home Information Pack (HIP) and then updating it to include a mandatory Property Information Questionnaire have all served to improve communication between the buyer and the seller of the property. But with the best communication in the world, it still makes sense to have a professional handling your Conveyancing.