Continued practice of due diligence key to conveyancing

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11 February 2016


Lawyer Checker200Various stages of any property transaction provide an element of risk (some more than others) and it seems preventative measures that are widely discussed within the profession can only do so much to help avert that risk.

As conveyancing fraud has escalated and scams earn up to £250,000 each week, the sector becomes more alluring to cyber criminals.

The loss of reputation, as well as valuable time and monetary loss can cause problems for the largest to the smallest of law firms. It appears that extra due diligence is more important than ever.

With SRA continuously reaching over 180 scam alerts in both 2014 and 2015, this offers further support to suggest that is becoming a continuous trend within the conveyancing industry, and not merely a blip.

In a recent QualitySolicitors Winters conveyancing case they received an Infrequent Result (with a Notice) immediately and were able to perform further due diligence as a result.

Sarah-Jane Featherstone, partner at QualitySolicitors Winters Legal LLP, said:

“Since the introduction of Lawyer Checker in November, we have found the information to be immediate, informative, and client friendly, meaning we can forward the search result to our client.

One particular search provided us with a Notice, which enabled us to perform further due diligence. We also advised the legitimate firm about the scam alert involving their practice name.

“Having gained experience in a wide variety of property transactions, my aim is to remove as much of the associated stress commonly linked to the conveyancing sector.

Performing the search early on in the transaction allowed this particular risk management tool to fit alongside our working configuration, and function successfully.”

Chris Harris, managing director at Lawyer Checker, said:

“The Account & Entity Screen provides an immediate check against various databases including the vast Lawyer Checker database. An Infrequent Result shows the details do not have a good track record within the Lawyer Checker database and suggests there could be potential for duplicitous activity.

“This outcome should be used in conjunction with other information on file to consider whether it is appropriate to transfer money to the account in question.

“We encourage all solicitors to ensure they are adhering to Principle 10 and performing their due diligence during conveyancing searches. It is fantastic to see Sarah-Jane and her team have become such great believers in Lawyer Checker.”



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The skills shortage in our businesses is the biggest threat to our industry when looking at cybercrime. Cybercriminals are not just after money but are looking for sensitive information too, so the legal services sector is an obvious target. In the last year we have had reports of around £7m of client money being lost to such crime. This is not an IT issue and it should not be left to the IT teams to sort out. It is a high-level responsibility and a board-level issue that must be taken seriously. We suspect that we will look back on 2016 and ask why we didn’t respond quicker.

March 21st, 2017