CML supports bid to raise conveyancing standards
Published: 12 April 2011 | Author: Bernard Clarke
The CML is backing the Law Society's attempts to raise standards in the industry by introducing the new conveyancing quality scheme (CQS).
Earlier this month, the Law Society reported that more than 700 firms had so far applied to join the scheme. We support the Society’s aspiration to create a trusted conveyancing community that will deter fraud, recognise high-quality services for home-buyers and lenders, and deliver a robust assessment and monitoring procedure for the firms of solicitors that are admitted.
We support a CQS that represents a credible means of driving up standards among conveyancers. Although individual lenders will continue to decide how to manage their panels of conveyancing firms, we believe that, if the CQS achieves the Law Society’s goal of reinforcing confidence in the market, it is likely to become a prerequisite for panel membership.
We have worked closely with the Law Society as it has developed the CQS. We are encouraged by the interest from firms of solicitors that have already applied to join the scheme. Firms that are considering joining are urged to do so quickly, so that there business is not aversely affected.
Firms wishing to continue to act for lenders should expect the CQS to become an important new criterion for panel management, and expect to be asked by lenders if they have been accredited.
In order to achieve accreditation, law firms should also expect to have to comply with higher standards covering the competence and probity of staff, the financial standing of the firm, and the existence of appropriate supervision, safeguards and processes. Extensive checks on key members of firms is a crucial part of the CQS.
The Law Society is about to embark on a consumer advertising and public relations campaign in support of the scheme, after which it expects more clients to start asking law firms whether they are accredited under the scheme or not.
Law Society president Linda Lee said: "In our ongoing talks on the wider issue of membership of mortgage lender panels with the CML and major lenders, it is clear there is support for the CQS. Not only will it help deter fraud, it also drives up practice management standards and provides a beacon of quality for home-buyers."