The Council for Licenced Conveyancers, or CLC, is the statutory regulatory body for licensed conveyancers in England and Wales. Until 1987 all conveyancing, the legal processes involved in transferring buildings and/or land from one owner to another and dealing with the financial transactions, was the sole responsibility of Solicitors regulated by the Law Society. That changed when Council for Licenced Conveyancers was formed, following the Administration of Justice Act 1985.
Following the statutory regulatory objectives set out in the Legal Services Act 2007, the CLC is now responsible for:
- setting educational and training standards for entry to the profession
- issuing licences to practice to those qualified
- setting standards to regulate the professional practice, conduct and discipline of licensed conveyancers and law firms regulated by the CLC and monitoring their work and conduct
- ensuring that practitioners maintain adequate professional indemnity insurance
- investigating allegations of misconduct and where appropriate taking disciplinary action
It is now possible for people other than Solicitors to become Conveyancers, known as Licensed Conveyancers. Many members of the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), property developers and law firms employ Licensed Conveyancers. Licensed Conveyancers practice either on their own or in partnership or company.
If the CLC examinations have been successfully passed and the practical training requirements undertaken, an applicant may apply for a licence which would permit them to offer conveyancing services as an employed person.
Once they have held an employed licence for a period of three years, they may then apply for a full licence, which would permit them to offer conveyancing services directly to the public as the sole principal, as a partner in a firm of Licensed Conveyancers or a director of a recognised body, e.g. limited company.
The CLC can now issue licences to appropriately qualified practitioners to carry out probate work as well as Conveyancing. It has also obtained powers to licence and regulate firms which wish to provide legal services as Alternative Business Structures.
Regular inspections of all regulated firms are carried out to ensure that these firms are continuing to provide services in accordance with both the Council's regulatory regime and its Client Charter.
Complaints about the quality of work or costs of firms regulated by the CLC, or about individual conveyancers should now be made to the Legal Ombudsman. The CLC will investigate complaints about professional conduct and has statutory disciplinary powers (but cannot award any damages to a complainant. )
For more information, or to contact the Council directly, visit their website.