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  6. Is the Law Society's Conveyancing Protocol compulsory?

Is the Law Society's Conveyancing Protocol compulsory?

I act for the buyer in a conveyancing transaction. My firm always follows the Law Society Conveyancing Protocol, but the seller's solicitor is refusing to adopt it. Is the Protocol compulsory?

Use of the Conveyancing Protocol, including the revised Code for Completion by Post and the Standard Conditions of Sale (5th edition, 2018 revision), is considered best practice for all solicitors that undertake residential transactions.

Adherence to these is compulsory if you are a member of the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS). Member practices sign up to comply with not only the Protocol, but also the Client Service Charter, mandatory training and enforcement procedures that operate under the scheme.

The aim is to provide a trusted community of qualified conveyancers that will deter fraud and drive up competence, standards and client service levels. Find out more about CQS.  

However, there is some flexibility within the CQS in relation to the Protocol. The nature of the transaction may dictate that the protocol is not appropriate. In such cases, all CQS members should (as far as possible) still act in accordance with the 'spirit' of the Protocol.

If the seller's solicitor is not a member of the CQS, then use of the Protocol is not compulsory but is considered to be preferred practice. It is only fully effective if both the seller's solicitor and the buyer's solicitor adopt it.

If one party does not agree to adopt the Protocol, that does not prevent the use of the procedures by the other party as, again, they should act in the 'spirit' of the Protocol as far as possible.

The CQS team at the Law Society should be notified of any circumstances where a CQS member practice is not complying with the Protocol, where necessary. Please email cqs@lawsociety.org.uk.

For more information, see the Law Society's Conveyancing Protocol.

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

Have you got a practice question? Call the Practice Advice Service on 020 7320 5675 or email practiceadvice@lawsociety.org.uk

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