New breed of solicitor to fight mortgage fraud

Nia Williams

January 28, 2011

The National Fraud Authority (NFA) recently published its annual fraud indicator and assessed the cost of fraud in the UK at £38 billion, and the mortgage fraud element at £1billion.

Solicitors firms that achieve the new quality standard mark for residential conveyancing, which the Law Society launched in December 2010, will help to raise standards in the home buying market, deter fraud and form a trusted conveyancing community serving clients, lender and insurers according to the Law Society.

Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson said that solicitors already played an important role in the conveyancing process, but that CQS was intended to add an extra barrier to fraud.

“CQS accredited solicitors will have undergone a robust application and assessment procedure, as well as compulsory training, self reporting, random auditing and a requirement to renew their CQS status annually.

“A new breed of property solicitor will emerge from the scheme, raising standards in the conveyancing process, help in the collective effort to deter fraud and provide assurance to mortgage lenders that initial vetting checks have been carried out as to a practice’s provenance and quality.

“The Law Society is leading the way in ensuring a safer, more efficient conveyancing environment for the benefit of home buyers and we are working collaboratively with lenders and the fraud prevention community to deter fraud together.

“Mortgage fraud has become more and more sophisticated. Mortgage application hijacking, law firm cloning or overvaluations are just some of the methods used by fraudsters. To help combat this it is important to ensure a bona fide solicitor is involved in the process early on.”

This week the National Fraud Authority’s Annual Fraud Indicator showed that of the £38 billion UK fraud bill, mortgage fraud cost £1 billion.

The first wave of CQS law firms are due to be accredited in February.

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