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Lenders welcome lawyers' vote against "sep rep"


Published: 25 September 2013 | Author: Bernard Clarke

Members of the Law Society of Scotland voted decisively at a special general meeting yesterday against any compulsory move to separate representation for lender and borrower in normal conveyancing transactions. The Law Society of Scotland will now consider its next steps in the light of the vote.

The lending industry is pleased that members of the legal profession in Scotland have, on balance, recognised that the best outcome for borrowers is not a move to compulsory separate representation, which would be costly and cumbersome.

In March this year, lawyers in Scotland had voted to bring forward a proposed rule change. But at the special general meeting yesterday, 847 voted against the rule change, while 671 were in favour.

Announcing the outcome of Monday’s special meeting, the president of the Law Society of Scotland, Bruce Beveridge, said: "There has been a mood change within the profession since the vote in March this year. The majority of solicitors clearly believe that the current practice works for their clients, although there remains a significant number of solicitors who have concerns."

He continued: "There has been a huge amount of work done in the interim and we have consulted widely with solicitors, the banks and their representative body the Council of Mortgage Lenders, and consumer interest organisations. The responses to our consultation revealed the strength of feeling within the profession, whether for or against the proposed rule change, and have highlighted the sensitivities and complexities of such a proposed change."

We had previously offered to work with the Law Society of Scotland to address any concerns about the work conveyancing solicitors undertake for lenders, especially any issues arising from the operation of the CML Lenders' Handbook of instructions to conveyancers.

We now look forward to working together on sensible and proportionate solutions to any concerns, while recognising that in most cases joint representation will best serve the interests of both the borrower and lender clients of conveyancing services.