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Dreamvar: an interim informative and case summary

9 July 2018

The Law Society has prepared an interim informative and case summary following the Court of Appeal decision in Dreamvar v Mishcon de Reya ('Dreamvar') and P&P Property Limited v Owen White & Catlin LLP ('P&P'). The case involved the liability of solicitors in cases of identity fraud.

Download a summary of the case

The case gives rise to a number of difficult practical and legal issues. These require careful and detailed consideration. We continue to consider the complex implications of the judgment for commercial and residential property transactions.

We are also reviewing the interpretation placed on the Law Society Code for Completion (the Code) and assessing whether and how the Code and other Law Society documents might be amended. Other elements of practice are also being reviewed.

Steps you can take now

  • Review your policy for risk assessing transactions, identify the facts that make a matter high risk and make efforts to ensure that you have procedures in place to deal with those risks.
  • Review or establish policies about when you might ask seller’s solicitors or conveyancers questions, for example, about whether they have carried out their AML investigations. Consider raising questions where there are indicators of potential fraud of the type highlighted in the HM Land Registry/Law Society joint note on Property and Title Fraud. Note: if you raise questions but fail to pursue the responses properly, you may be exposed to additional risk.
  • Review or establish policies in relation to how you will answer questions from the buyer’s solicitors when acting for a seller.
  • Review or develop policies to establish when you should decline to act if you are not confident that the 'seller' is the registered proprietor.
  • Ensure that you are aware of and put into practice:

    For general information, please contact the Practice Advice Service

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