Conveyancing solicitors switching to CLC regulation after change in rules
New rules make it easier for solicitor firms to switch their conveyancing regulation from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC).
What is the rule change?
In 2017, the Legal Services Board (LSB) approved a change in the rules made by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), stating that solicitors’ firms are no longer required to obtain six years of indemnity insurance run-off cover in order to switch regulators.
Now, provided a firm has the required professional indemnity cover (including legal services as provided under the SRA), they can switch regulators without taking out run off cover.
Five law firms make the switch to CLC regulation
Two firms have switched their entire practices to the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), and three firms have switched their conveyancing departments.
Two firms based in Nottingham in Bristol have both moved from the SRA to CLC.
Alongside this, the Leicester Conveyancing Solicitors firm EHL Conveyancing, Poole Townsend Estates in Cumbria and online firm Your Conveyancer have all moved their conveyancing practices into separate CLC-licensed firms.
Sheila Kumar, Chief Executive of CLC, said:
“We are excited to see that firms are taking advantage of the freedom to choose to move to a specialist regulatory regime that supports innovation. This is an important driver for the promotion of competition in the provision of legal services, one of the regulatory objectives in the Legal Services Act 2007."
Ms Kumar added that, by working closely with the law firms it regulates, the CLC will help the community to "grow and thrive". Ms Kumar welcomed firms that were dedicated to developing prosperous, consumer-focused businesses
“Our approach, which delivers proportionate and agile regulation, means we can work with firms as they develop the most appropriate model for them: setting up a new business, switching their current business to CLC regulation or moving parts of their group into CLC regulation while continuing other parts of their business under their current regulator."
In her statement, Ms Kumar explained how the CLC's flexible approach helped the regulator to deliver "compliant, sustainable solutions". By taking the time to listed to solicitors' needs, they were able to work with firms towards long-term growth and success.
“As businesses across the legal sector prepare themselves for the new transparency rules, we look forward to discussing with firms how CLC regulation can support them in finding new and better ways to meet changing consumer need, and grasp the opportunities of new technology.”
The Legal Services Board LSB said of the decision to approve this change in the rules that it welcomed “any changes which remove barriers to firms wishing to switch regulators”, as long as safeguards were in place for consumers.
CLC-regulated conveyancers and SRA-regulated conveyancing solicitors - What's the difference?
What does the SRA do?
The SRA regulates solicitors and law firms working across all legal disciplines, from clinical negligence to employment law, family law and probate. The regulator sets professional standards that solicitors must adhere to, including rules of conduct and for handling ethical issues.
The SRA also monitors and provides guidance to organisations that are responsible for solicitors' qualification and formal training. It also disciplines solicitors and firms that breach its rules, and maintains a compensation fund to refund clients' money that solicitors have lost through negligence or dishonesty.
What does the CLC do?
The CLC is a much newer regulator, established in 1985, to only regulate lawyers and conveyancers that handle conveyancing work. In recent years, the CLC has expanded to also regulate firms' probate work.
Like the SRA, the CLC sets out professional rules, qualification requirements and training standards for its members. Unlike the SRA, however, the CLC has a much narrower focus on conveyancing matters.
The CLC's focus on conveyancing means that its regulation can priorities issues that are of particular concern to clients who are buying and selling property, including setting high standards of client communication, fee transparency and speed.
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.
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