Conveyancing negligence claims – not out of the woods yet
Conveyancing negligence claims against solicitors increased dramatically in recent years, as they always do during a recession, when property prices fall.
Now that property prices appear to have recovered in most of England and Wales, it would be natural to assume that the number of claims for negligent conveyancing should fall away to pre-recession levels.
Although that is what happened after previous recessions, this time round it may not, as solicitors struggle to cope with the recent surge in property transactions.
During the recession, most solicitors’ practices experienced a slump in revenue from conveyancing work. There were 3 main reasons for this:
- First and foremost, the number of property transactions decreased dramatically.
- Secondly, solicitors lost work to conveyancing ‘factories’ that started emerging after the Legal Services Act 2007 allowed non-lawyer organisations to provide legal services for the first time. These ‘factories’, manned largely by unqualified (and therefore comparatively cheaper) staff, offered to do conveyancing work at rates that were just not economic for solicitors.
- Thirdly, solicitors were forced to cut their fees in order to attract what work there was.
As a result, many conveyancers found themselves out of work as law firms across the country made redundancies.
The lull in property sales continued for several years and property lawyers, understandably, retrained in other areas of law or left the profession.
The property market has picked up again: in July 2014 mortgage lending rose to £19.1bn in July to reach the highest monthly total since August 2008, and there was a 25% rise in property transactions in the first half of 2014.
Conveyancing practices are busy again and are trying to recruit more staff to cope with demand. The problem they face is that there is a shortage of experienced conveyancers.
If solicitors take on conveyancing work that they don’t have the resources to deal with properly, experience shows that mistakes will be made, clients will lose out and negligence claims will inevitably follow.
If you feel you have been let down by a lawyer in relation to a property matter and would like to speak to a solicitor who specialises in conveyancing negligence claims, contact us now by:
- filling in our online enquiry form, or
- calling us on 0330 050 5254
We act for businesses and individuals throughout all of England and Wales, from London, Bristol and Cardiff in the South, to Birmingham and Nottingham in the Midlands, and Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle in the North.