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Conveyancing trade body publishes guidance ahead of December transparency rules

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  • 27/09/2018
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Conveyancing trade body publishes guidance ahead of December transparency rules
The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) has published a guide to set out minimum standards to help consumers choose a lawyer, ahead of incoming transparency rule changes.

 

These requirements have been made ahead of new transparency rules coming into force on 6 December, to give firms as much time as possible to prepare themselves.

CLC-licensed firms will have to publish price, service and quality information on their websites, as part of a cross-industry push to empower consumers and foster innovation and competition across the legal services market.

The guidance provides them with flexibility as to decide how they choose to implement the requirements.

The CLC has worked with the SRA and CILEx regulation on the requirements, guidance, templates and timescales to ensure that there is a level playing field for all and so that potential clients are able to make comparisons between providers.

The trade body has also published templates and examples of displaying cost information for both conveyancing and probate work.

Firms are able to decide the best way to display cost information, such as examples of fixed fees based on specific values or a range of values of properties, hourly rates of members of staff with indicative timescales for transactions, or through instant estimate generators.

The guidance stated that “a consumer should not have to provide contact details to receive a call-back or email for an estimate.”

Service information on firms’ websites must include a description of the services they provide, key stages of the services, indicative timescales, and the staff mix, their experience and qualifications.

CLC chief executive Sheila Kumar said: “Helping consumers understand the value of the service they offer, the benefits of how they offer that service and the experience the client should expect will help the consumer make a more informed choice. Our approach has long been to set transparency requirements so we trust firms will see this as an extension of what they have already been doing.”

Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association, said: “What we hope is that the industry will have the opportunity now to move away from the issue of pricing and differentiate themselves through the service and routes to service which they offer. Overall, we hope this will enable home buyers and sellers to choose and instruct their conveyancer earlier in the process to reduce the delays currently experienced.

“For those conveyancers who do not already have a solution in place, we would urge them to attend one of the regulators’ guidance events in October and November so they can be ready for the December rule change whether they are CLC-, CILEx- or SRA-registered.”

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