Joint Representation in a Property Transaction

By Laurel Terry 

 

On March 25, 2013, the Law Society of England and Wales issued a statement that joint representation of the buyer and the lender in a property sales transaction is acceptable and provides the best value for money for clients.  See http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/society-sticks-joint-representation-homebuyers#comments . (For more background, see http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/advice/articles/separate-representation/. ) In taking this position, the Law Society explicitly rejected the position taken the previous week by the Law Society of Scotland, noting that the “regulatory environment and market conditions are very different in Scotland.”

On March 22, 2013, the Law Society of Scotland had voted 58-27 to remove the current exception to the conflict of interest rules that permits a single solicitor to carry out work both for a client wishing to buy a property and their mortgage lender.  To become effective, the revised practice rules will have to be approved by the members of the Law Society of Scotland at a special general meeting to be held in September 2013 and approved by the lord president. See http://www.lawscot.org.uk/news/press-releases/2013/march-/news22313agmseprep; http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/separate-representation-vote-condemned.  These two UK decisions, which come out with different results, can provide the basis for a useful discussion in Chapter 5 related to Conflicts of Interest.

You might also find it useful to show the students the buyer-seller conflict decision tree and buyer-lender conflict decision tree. See http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/advice/documents/conflicts-of-interest—buyer-and-seller/ and http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/advice/documents/conflicts-of-interest—lender-and-borrower/ .

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