Small conveyancers hit back at panel culls

Sarah Davidson

August 23, 2012

A Twitter campaign for separate representation is calling on 100 small legal firms to join the petition to preserve competition in the conveyancing market.

It said: “In response to [several lenders’] recent decision to cull small law firms from their conveyancing panels, we have decided to fight back because it’s not just about us, but the many communities law firms serve.

“We have started a petition to The Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable as Head of Business Innovation & Skills because they are saying it is the Government’s top priority to ensure the success of small businesses, which are vital to the growth of our economy.

“The main ambition of BIS is to remove the barriers that prevent the growth of small businesses. I don’t know about you but we at A P Bassett Solicitors are a small business and the decision by the banks to remove small firms like us from their panels, is a barrier to our growth and consumer choice.”

The campaign claims CQS may be a “short term answer” but as more and more banks apply to become Alternative Business Structures – meaning they can own legal firms without being legally qualified – “they won’t want solicitors on their panels”.

It said: “To put it another way the banks will not want us, their competitors on their panels. CQS accredited or not a competitor is a competitor.”

A P Bassett Solicitors has enlisted Christian Lister, a small business lobbyist, who has agreed to help promote the cause in Westminster free of charge.

The Association of Business Recovery Professionals recently claimed over 2,000 law firms are at risk of failure in the next 12 months – this equates to 29.1% of firms in the UK and Ireland.

The campaign said: “We have managed to collect 100 signatures from our local business community, social media contacts and clients.

“We are suggesting if 100 other law firms do the same, we hope very quickly to amass 10,000 signatures. We think it is important to get the public behind us because it is also about consumer choice and while the insolvency industry is watching us closely, let’s give them something to watch!”

Petitions that gather 10,000 signatures have potential to become a debate subject in the House of Commons.

Sign up today http://linkd.in/PRjL9I

Sign up to our daily email