POSTED 22 October 2018 Mortgages

Licensed Conveyancer or Conveyancing Solicitor ?

It is with good reason that some confusion exists about the differences between licensed conveyancers and conveyance solicitors, because both can offer the same services.

Here, we explore the roles in further detail and discuss the exactly what are the main differences between the two.

Conveyancer

Let’s start with a licensed conveyancer.

Professionals such as these specialise in conveyancing and offer services in this field of work – this is generally their only focus and area of expertise. They are regulated by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers (CLC).

Solicitor

A conveyancing solicitor, on the other hand, is a legal professional who specialises in property law. They have a legal background and a solid understanding of a number of other areas of law, including litigation. A conveyancing solicitor is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Practical differences

In practice, both a conveyancer and a solicitor are fully qualified to provide any service pertaining to conveyancing.

A conveyancer is permitted to carry out work for both the buyer and the seller during a single property deal, whilst a conveyancing solicitor is not permitted to do so and must work on only one side of the transaction. There are a few practical distinctions between the two:

  • Referral fees – the SRA requires solicitors to disclose any referral fee paid out to a marketing or referring agency. Licensed conveyancers, conversely, are under no such obligation to do so from the CLC or any other organisation.
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  • Training – to become a solicitor, you must undertake a three or four year degree, a two year Legal Practice Course (LPC) and a two year training contract with a company before qualifying.
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  • Charge – on average, licensed conveyancers tend to be cheaper than conveyance solicitors. However, this is not necessarily true. Whenever looking for someone to carry out conveyancing work it pays to shop around and to remember that the cheapest option is not always the best.
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  • Knowledge pool – because of their background in law, a solicitor is likely to have a greater understanding of the law than a conveyancer. Moreover, many solicitors work in law firms, providing them (and their clients) with access to a wider pool of legal knowhow. Conveyancers may work for law firms but may also work for a firm of licensed conveyancers, so may not be able to offer the same level of legal assistance.

Who should I choose?

The decision is completely up to you. However, in reality, whichever option you go for, a licensed conveyancer or a conveyance solicitor, you are likely to be in safe hands.

That said, the potential economy of a licensed conveyancer can prove attractive to more experienced buyers, who already have a good understanding of many of the other legal processes that are involved in purchasing a property.

On the other hand, those less familiar with the ins and outs of buying a home, such as first timers, may benefit from the extra legal expertise that a solicitor brings with them.