Conveyancing Lessons from the Demise of “Cheap as Chips” HIP Provider

Paul Hajek | 17 Jan 2011

Fridays Property Lawyers, a firm of Licensed Conveyancers, the self styled UK’s most popular property lawyers went spectacularly bust on 31st December.

An over indulgence on their HIP business was cited as a major factor in the company’s demise

Perhaps more accurately, the immediate withdrawal of HIPs by the Coalition government ought to be cited as the catalyst, rather than HIPs themselves-. for those of you with short memories HIPs were one of the last Labour Government’s ill conceived housing market reforms, which were compulsory on every sale of a residential property.

Volume Conveyancing, a candidate for a new legal oxymoron, may well be a spent business model for all but a few highly efficient operators.

What is certain is that cheap volume Conveyancing in the present subdued housing market is a spent force.

Cheap Conveyancing does not pay in the long run. It is unsustainable.

It continues to be seen by vested interests as a commodity product. But, the costs for practitioners in obtaining professional indemnity insurance, rises each year, as the level of Conveyancing claims rises.

What other “commodity” product has so many claims?

Yet, the annoying banner on the Friday’s website claimed (and still does) “Conveyancing From £89” was allowed to go unchecked for years.

It is difficult to countenance a firm of Solicitors as opposed to a firm such as Fridays of Licensed Conveyancers getting away for so long with such misleading advertising.

If the current legislation or authorisation by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers has proved so ineffectual at ridding a clear abuse what chance do we have of a level playing field when new entrants appear in the Conveyancing market later in this year under the 2007 Legal Services Act in the form of Authorised (i.e. Big Non Legal Brands) Business Structures

Some Conveyancing solicitors should not be immune to criticism either and are as guilty as others in cheapening the Conveyancing service.

The new initiative by the Law Society in introducing a Conveyancing Quality Scheme” may assist, when it comes on stream in the Spring, but the cheapened Conveyancing cat may already be well and truly out of the bag.

Come on, stop down valuing Conveyancing services to such an extent that potential clients actually believe that you can really get Conveyancing for 89 quid.

The evidence of cheap as chips Conveyancing is stark from the demise of Fridays: it doesn’t pay and it doesn’t work. 



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