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Licensed Conveyancers and Conveyancing Solicitors whats the difference?

Although separate, both Licensed Conveyancers and Conveyancing Solicitors have a similar set of guidelines and standards which their members are required to stick to.Both can be described as “property lawyers”, but each are governed by different regulatory bodies: all solicitors practising in England and Wales must be registered with the Law Society and are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Licensed Conveyancers on the other hand, are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC). Both have a similar set of guidelines and standards which their members are required to stick to. Licensed conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors whats the difference? A few fundamental differences between the two can be found below.

Solicitors

Solicitors are trained in a variety of legal fields, ranging from family law through to litigation or criminal law. Solicitors typically complete a 3 or 4 year degree followed by a 2 year Legal Practice Course (LPC) and finally a 2 year ‘Training Contract’ with a Solicitors practice before qualifying.

Solicitors usually work in firms that employ a variety of solicitors specialising in other areas of law. This means that they can pool on the knowledge of other areas of law if they need to e.g. tax planning, wills, litigation, family law and disputes and so on.

Under the SRA Code of Conduct Rule 9, Solicitors are required, to disclose any referral fee paid out to a marketing or referring agency.

Occasionally Solicitors do convert to Licensed Conveyancers, often because it allows them more commercial freedom.

Conveyancers

“A Licensed Conveyancer is a qualified specialist lawyer who concentrates solely on dealing with property or conveyancing. As a result, Licensed Conveyancers operate under a bespoke regulatory framework, which is designed specifically to continually ensure consumer protection for users of services provided by Licensed Conveyancers.” – The 1985 Administration of Justice Act

Licensed Conveyancers are specialists in property law and this is the sole focus of their work. Although they may not have the same breadth of legal training as a solicitor Licensed Conveyancers will have undergone a series of rigorous examinations in order to obtain their qualification and are exclusively focused on property transactions. Licensed Conveyancers tend to learn “on the job” and sit exams whilst working in the sector.

Licensed conveyancers are allowed to act on both sides of a transaction. This is one of the most controversial differences as it is argued that one entity cannot possibly represent the interests of 2 parties given that those interests will probably conflict.

In conclusion

It all comes down to who you as a customer trust to do the best job for your move. With Solicitors and Licensed Conveyancers both having all the necessary legal expertise to look after your move it’s best to focus on what makes one particular firm’s service stand out. Certain specialist conveyancing professionals, whether Solicitors or Licensed Conveyancers, will be able to offer a number of features to help ensure a smooth move.

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