The National Conveyancing Protocol (the Protocol) is a framework or over-arching guide for the sale and purchase of a property/home for an owner/occupier.
It has been devised by the Law Society and has been subject to a recent revision and its importance is to help in achieving the objective of a smooth sale and purchase transaction between respective parties which would also involve lenders and agents.
The purpose of the Protocol is to endeavour to facilitate the best practice, transparency and openness with all the parties involved in the conveyancing process from the initial instructions to deducing the title on behalf of the seller, investigating the title for the purchaser and/or lender towards exchange of contracts, completion and registration. The objective is that it should proceed in a way that all parties are fully informed and unnecessary delays can be avoided to the satisfaction of all parties concerned as generally a purchase or sale transaction will be the most significant undertaking by a client during their lifetime.
The objective as previously stated of the Protocol was to give all parties as open and transparent overview of the process involved and this will be facilitated by the conduct of the conveyancers acting for both seller and purchaser.
The Protocol is based on best practice and guidance from the Law Society and takes into account various considerations not limited to openness and courtesy when dealing with third parties, establishing the identity of clients whether acting in a capacity as practitioner for the seller or purchaser of a property and Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds Regulations 2017.
The National Protocol has always placed professional obligations on conveyancers with regards to sale and purchase transactions and with the new revision of the Protocol and the Law Society Code for Completion by Post, recent events and Case Law have brought into focus the obligations on conveyancers which are there for the ultimate protection of clients involved in conveyancing transactions.
Particular attention has been focused on the importance of establishing the identity of clients. With regards to acting for a seller in a conveyancing transaction the conveyancer is obligated to confirm identity of any individuals aged over 17 living in the property and consider whether their consent to the sale is required which may involve the occupier obtaining independent legal advice. Consideration in this regard would have to take into account if any occupiers have made financial contributions towards the purchase of the property or further contributions regarding the mortgage payments or other outgoings or improvements to the property.
The case of Dreamvar (UK) Limited v Mishcon De Reya (a Firm)  EWCA Civ 1082 brought into sharp focus the need to establish the identity of a seller of a property. As a result of this case and the change to the Law Society Code for Completion by Post, conveyancers were reminded of the absolute importance of establishing the person who holds himself/themselves out as the owner of a property is entitled to convey that property and is a true owner under the Contract and is entitled to receive the purchase monies on completion from the buyer’s solicitor.
While most clients will not know or appreciate the existence of the Conveyancing Protocol except at the initial stage of the transaction where this is contained in a firms terms and conditions, the Protocol has significant importance as it operates in the background to facilitate the smooth conveyance and transfer of property that ultimately protects all parties’ interest and by implication helps to uphold the professional standards and best practice of conveyancers.
As with any framework it is purely a guide but can help to establish and entrench best practice and methods of working that help to make the conveyancing process as seamless and stress-free as possible for the ultimate benefits of all clients.
If you are purchasing, selling, remortgaging or require a transfer of equity, please do call us on 0118 958 9711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to provide a quote to you.