Monday, March 18, 2013

Law Society AGM will see vote on separate representation for property buyers & mortgage lenders after increase in solicitors engaged in mortgage fraud

Solicitors in Scotland are set to vote on whether to continue to allow one solicitor to act on behalf of clients buying a property and their mortgage lender at the Law Society's annual general meeting on 22 March 2013. Solicitors will debate a recommendation to introduce separate representation in all conveyancing transactions, which would mean removing the current exemption to conflict of interest rules which allows solicitors to act for both borrower and lender.

Having a solicitor act for both the buyer and the lender has recently been brought into disrepute on account of a rising number of mortgage frauds, where solicitors have been pocketing monies destined for lenders yet apparently escaping criminal charges after botched investigations on the Law Society’s part.

Austin Lafferty, president of the Law Society of Scotland, who once said on BBC his ideal client was a little old lady with £100K and a house to sell, said: "Changes in bank and building society's practices have resulted in increased pressure and risk to solicitors in continuing to represent both parties. In recent months the 'sep rep' movement has grown, and increasing numbers of solicitors, although by no means all, are in favour of removing the exemption, meaning lenders would have to appoint their own solicitors, which immediately removes the risk to the buyers' solicitors.

"While there would be clear benefits to introducing this change, as might be expected there are some potential downsides to having separate representation, such as the possibility of increased costs and paperwork. However given the increased pressures imposed by lenders on solicitors up and down the country, this is a crucial debate to have and it will be for our members to decide what they want to see happen. I would urge any of our members involved in conveyancing to come along to the AGM to take part in this important debate."

Solicitors will also have the chance to debate the 'Future of the solicitor profession' at a CPD seminar immediately after the AGM. Recent research showed that the profession was evenly split between those who were optimistic about the future and those who had a more pessimistic perspective on changes within the legal sector.

A panel of solicitors, representing different areas of the legal profession, including high street and big firms, in house and newly qualified lawyers, will give their thoughts before opening the debate to the floor.

Confirmed panellists are: Anne Ritchie, President of Glasgow Bar Association, Anne MacKenzie, chief counsel at Glasgow Housing Association, Graham Gibson, partner at Kirklands Law Limited, Rosanne Ogden, Scottish Young Lawyers Association, Richard Masters, Head of Client Operations at Pinsent Masons

The AGM is to be filmed for the first time and will be available for Society members to view on the Society's website from 2 April. There will also be live tweeting - follow the discussions on #LSSagm via Twitter.

The agenda and papers for the AGM, including the report on separate representation, are available on the Law Society of Scotland website.


Anonymous said...

I would never trust any member of this union of professional thieves who try to put of a front or respectability on organized coverups. I would not accept legal representation from them for free.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a swindler's charter to me.

Anonymous said...

I would not trust any of you Mr Lafferty.

Anonymous said...

There is only one thing worse than a crooked Scottish lawyer and that is two crooked Scottish lawyers?

Why would someone double their chances of getting a crooked Scottish lawyer?

Far safer bet for the purchaser and the seller getting together and agreeing a deal together?

Also the purchaser would be far better protected by negotiating directly with the lender over their mortgage as chancing pot-luck in getting a crooked Scottish lawyer is way too risky?

After all, as this article shows......Scottish lawyers are above the law and can rob you of your hard earned cash and there is nothing you can do about it because the Law Society of Scotland have the power to veto the involvement of the police?