Dreamvar - Law Society response

Last year the High Court ruled that Mishcon de Reya should bear the £1m losses of a client who was the victim of identity fraud while buying a property in London. The firm appealed and the Law Society intervened because of the importance of the case.

“We will be considering the Court of Appeal ruling in detail in the coming days. In the meantime, we are pleased the judgment will provide innocent purchasers with greater protection from fraudsters – which is not only right but will help boost consumer confidence in the conveyancing process,” said Law Society vice president Christina Blacklaws.

“The ruling confirms that the Money Laundering Regulations Solicitors do not impose additional civil liability on solicitors - however even full compliance with the regulations and all other regulatory requirements will not prevent liability if a solicitor acts in breach of trust.

“Our profession has high standards - and there are numerous regulatory and other requirements designed to lower the risk of fraud. There is an increase in the reach and sophistication of the technology that is designed to detect and reduce fraud and the Society believes this will also help to boost confidence in the property buying process.”

The ruling provides valuable guidance on Law Society’s Code for Completion by Post, which was a central feature of the case. That will be reflected in the work to update the Code for Completion and associated documents, which is currently underway. The amendments to the Code should provide greater clarity as to roles and responsibilities. We hope our amendments will assist in the smoother operation of the housing processes.

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