What are “licensed conveyancers”?
Or, more bluntly, are licensed conveyancers real lawyers?
The answer to the blunt question is a resounding “Yes!”; the answer, given by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, to the more polite version is, “Licensed Conveyancers and Probate Practitioners are specialist property lawyers. They can provide expert advice to help you buy or sell your property or deal with the will of a deceased person. ”
In fact, the position – especially in my case – is both simpler and more complex than the CLC’s answer suggests: I am a solicitor – so I challenge anyone to say that I am not a “real lawyer” – but I have chosen for my business to be regulated by the CLC, instead of by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority. The reasons for this can be summarised as –
- cost: the regulatory overheads, especially the professional indemnity insurance premium, are significantly lower for licensed conveyancers than for solicitors, and the savings can be passed on to our clients, so that our fees are often significantly lower (when compared on a like-for-like basis) to those of solicitors
- bureaucracy: we find the CLC much easier than the SRA to deal with, and very willing to offer advice and help in a way that seems foreign to the SRA
As my preferred workload is largely limited to residential and commercial conveyancing, Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and administration of estates, this focusing of my practice on those areas of work makes absolute sense.
Unfortunately, some lenders, lawyers and members of the public do not understand the true differences between solicitors and licensed conveyancers, and assume a licensed conveyancing firm involves a lower grade of lawyer. This is far from the truth – as we intend to demonstrate!