Nigel Stockton slams CML over conveyancing
Stockton, financial services director at national broker Countrywide, criticised the lack of context that accompanied the issue of CML circular 2531 which listed the firms that have been accredited under the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme.
Stockton said: “Countrywide is wholly supportive of this approach. It is good that the Law Society has finally accredited professional solicitors who do good conveyancing work and have achieved a decent standard of work.
“However Countrywide Conveyancing Services, the largest Council for Licensed Conveyancers regulated conveyancing organisation in England and Wales, is disappointed that although the CML has made it clear that licensed conveyancers are not eligible to join the CQS they have chosen to give no comment or context around this, giving members a rather distorted picture of the industry.”
Stockton referred to a recent statement made by Linda Lee, president of the Law Society, which said: “For a variety of reasons licensed conveyancers are currently seen as less of a risk in the context of mortgage fraud.”
Stockton added: “Those reasons relate of course to the strict standards of regulation by the CLC, the experience such firms build up because they specialise in conveyancing and can devote the time, attention and resources to ensuring they are on top of all industry developments and have strong fraud policies and procedures in place.”
A statement from the CML said: “We regularly keep members informed by circular of developments of interest to them. This particular circular notes that conveyancers are not eligible for the scheme (nor are solicitors in Scotland) because they are not regulated by the Law Society of England and Wales, the body that has introduced the conveyancing quality scheme.”
A Law Society spokesperson added: “The point of the CQS is to provide solicitors firms with a means of demonstrating that they reach high standards and we have worked closely with lenders to ensure that their needs in respect of assurances about mortgage fraud are met.
“Licensed conveyancers form a very small part of the conveyancing market and the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of solicitors provide a high quality, strongly regulated expert service to the overwhelming bulk of house purchasers.”