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2017

Value for money regulation

12 May 2017

Three-quarters of CLC lawyers think that regulation by the CLC provides value for money and supports innovation and growth in their business. Now the CLC has launched a consultation on the objectives and principles that should govern the setting of licence and practice fees. This follows a 20% reduction in entity fee rates in 2016.

A key proposal is to maintain consistency in regulatory fees year on year, so that firms are able to plan with confidence that rates will not see-saw.  But we are committed to making reductions in rates whenever that is possible in a way that we can be certain is sustainable.  

The CLC’s fee rates are calculated on the turnover of firms. As the turnover of CLC firms continues to rise, the CLC believes it will be able to reduce fees. Our tight control of the cost of delivering tailored regulation of specialist property lawyers will also help.   

There could be exceptional circumstances, such as a prolonged economic downturn, when a different approach is required. If the CLC’s minimum reserves were not able to absorb the impact of such an event, then rates might need to increase.

The CLC is committed to delivering proportionate, targeted regulation and that includes keeping the financial burden of regulation to a sustainable minimum. 

The consultation closes on Friday, 23rd June. 

Reporting on 2016: Regulating specialist conveyancers and probate lawyers

04 May 2017

Looking back on 2016 as the Council for Licensed Conveyancers published its Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year, Chief Executive Sheila Kumar said: ‘The LSB’s assessment of our performance as well as the very positive views of those we regulate show that we are on a very firm footing as we begin to develop a new strategy for the coming years. We are looking to build on our considerable strengths, responding to changing risks in the market place to continue to ensure high standards of consumer protection while we support innovation in the delivery of conveyancing and probate services. We are committed to keeping the regulatory burden to the lowest possible level, In 2016 we were able to cut entity fee rates by 20%.’

The CLC’s latest Annual Report and Financial Statements look at the calendar year 2016. The highlights of the year include:

  • Three-quarters of CLC lawyers said that being regulated by the CLKC is either ‘extremely’ or ‘mostly‘ beneficial to their business.
  • 97% of CLC lawyers said their experience of the annual licence renewal round was either ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
  • Entity fee rates were cut by 20%.
  • The CLC’s minimum standards for professional indemnity insurance were amended to include run-off cover free at the point of closure of a firm.
  • The Legal Services Board gave the CLC the most positive assessment of all of the front line regulators.

Read the CLC’s Annual Report 2016

Read the CLC’s Annual Financial Statements 2016

HSBC raises maximum loan threshold for dual representation by sole practitioners

31 January 2017

On January 30th 2017 HSBC made a change to their Residential Purchase Conveyancing Policy, increasing the maximum loan threshold for CQS and CLC sole practitioner firms to act for both the customer and the bank via dual representation. 

The threshold has increased from £150,000 to £350,000. 

This change applies to new applications from that date.

There is some confusion in relation to the Law Society's CQS scheme because of a report in the Law Gazette. Licensed Conveyancer firms can act in HSBC cases in the same way as Solicitor firms that are part of the Law Society’s CQS Scheme. Licensed Conveyancer firms do not need any accreditation beyond their status as regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.  

HSBC tells us that, for customers who have already completed an application prior to 30th January 2017, and their choice of conveyancer meant separate legal representation was required, they will continue with their original conveyancing choice based on the £150,000 threshold. 

Sheila Kumar, Chief Executive of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers said: 'The CLC is very pleased that HSBC treats Licensed Conveyancer firms on an equal footing with Solicitor firms that are part of the CQS.  Licensed Conveyancers do not need a CQS-style accreditation scheme because they are by their nature specialists, benefiting from specialist training in Conveyancing and operating within a system of tailored regulation.'