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Conveyancing Solicitors: Wake Up and Smell the Tesco Coffee

View profile for Paul Hajek
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Last week it was Estate Agents who were all in a paddy at the launch of iSold, Tesco’s joint venture with spicerhaart.

Now, it seems it’s the turn of Conveyancing Solicitors to froth at the mouth.

We have, the not unexpected news, as reported in the Law Gazette today, that iSold would consider applying for a formal licence to offer legal services in 2011.

After all, “TescoLaw” without the eponymous supermarket, would be unworthy of the epithet.

Yet, Tesco for those in the know already provide Conveyancing Services.

Tying in with an Estate Agent who refers Conveyancing would simply be following a trend, started by regional law firms, a few years ago.

If Tesco were willing to accept referral fees, presumably, the argument in their favour would be won. Conveyancing solicitors might bleat about it, but could do no more than put up or shut up.

Interestingly, at the moment, one of Tesco’s providers is a firm of Licensed Conveyancers. iSold state that they are working with a small number of key partner law firms. Conveyancing Solicitors may be being a bit presumptuous into believing that Tesco is automatically in talks with firms of solicitors.

For as we know, but sadly, the public does not, there are such worries over disclosing referral fees with Licensed Conveyancers. The duty to disclose never really caught on.

As a Conveyancing Solicitor myself, I would hope the implementation of the Legal Services Act in 2011 would provide for full disclosure in areas such as referral fees.

It is perhaps too forlorn a hope that all existing and every new entrant into the Conveyancing market will be bound by the same rules and high standards.

Tell me what you think.

Image: Christian Steinkruger via Flickr