Why Do We Need A Conveyancing Quality Scheme, Anyway?

Paul Hajek | 25 Feb 2011

Update: this blog has now been updated, and you can view it here.

Conveyancing Quality Scheme logoYou may or may not have heard about the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme or CQS the inevitable acronym; but why do we need it?

According to the Law Society it is designed to give clients and lenders a benchmark when dealing with Conveyancing firms.

It is based upon the updated Law Society’s Conveyancing Protocol that aims to create consistent standards across the board enabling buyers and sellers to gain more certainty within a transaction.

It is contended that potential clients of CQS Accredited Conveyancing practices will benefit from increased regulation and defined standards in Conveyancing. 

Each accredited Conveyancing firm of Solicitors will be required to renew annually their membership of the scheme.

But are potential clients really that bothered by a logo on a website which purports to show quality. After all how many law firms are chosen on the basis of Lexcel accreditation or because they have an Investors in People plaque?

Does Conveyancing need yet more regulation?

Conveyancing is a crowded market and, to man or woman in the street can be fairly confusing.

The CQS is the Law Society’s attempt to rid the sector of fraudulent and bogus firms but as the scheme is only open to members regulated by the SRA it is unlikely to be a catch-all.

Many Conveyancing firms are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and not the SRA and so the scheme will not be all inclusive.

The only solution would appear to be a similar scheme operated by the CLC but one has to wonder if they are simply waiting to see how many firms sign up to the Law Society’s scheme before making their own decision.

President of the Law Society, Linda Lee, believes the CQS is needed because high quality Conveyancing firms have never had the opportunity to be recognised for their efforts. She also states, “The CQS will give homebuyers an instantly recognisable kite mark, highlighting a firm’s professional excellence and their commitment to providing a high quality service”.

“The accreditation will allow consumers to identify quality Conveyancing practices in a crowded and sometimes confusing market”

How does a Conveyancing firm obtain accreditation?

In order to gain CQS accreditation a firm must first complete a lengthy application form; meet strict criteria in areas such as competence, probity of staff, administrative processes and financial standing.

All accredited firms will be checked on an annual basis to ensure that they have adhered to the standards and are continuing to follow the Law Society’s guidelines.

Out of 5000 firms submitting Land Registry applications monthly only 200 firms have applied for accreditation.

Could it be that the scheme will not give the benefits that the Law Society are saying it will? Maybe many firms will not apply on the basis that there is already enough of a financial and administrative burden on Conveyancing firms.

Is the CQS an unnecessary accreditation? Well I guess that would be up to the individual firm to decide for themselves, and the jury may still be out.

Clutton Cox I am pleased to say is one of the 200 firms who have registered to join the scheme.

One way,however, to judge the quality of a Conveyancing firm is already out there; the law firm website.

Check around the Clutton Cox website and find out for yourselves whether the quality shines through. 



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