The end for “licensed conveyancers”? CLC seeks new name as it bids for ABSs’ business

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By Legal Futures

18 May 2011

Bradley: consumers need clarity

The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) is investigating a new name for both itself and those it regulates as part of plans to attract alternative business structures (ABSs) shopping around for a regulator.

The CLC’s new corporate strategy for 2011-2013 sets out its ambition to use its position as an ABS licensing authority to strengthen and grow its “regulated community”.

A 2011 business plan published alongside it includes an operating assumption that the CLC will receive 100 ABS applications this year.

The CLC has become the first regulator approved by the Legal Services Board to be a licensing authority and is also seeking to become a regulator of litigation and advocacy services. It can already grant licensed conveyancers the right to conduct probate work.

In their foreword to the plan, CLC chairman Anna Bradley and chief executive Victor Olowe say that as licensed conveyancers will soon be able to deliver other legal services, “clarity about the scope of services that they are authorised to provide through their title is critical for consumers.

“We are currently exploring a range of possible options for a new name for the CLC and those we regulate in the future.”

The CLC will make a decision on this issue later in 2011.

The plan acknowledges that the as a small, specialist regulator, the CLC is “vulnerable to shocks among our licenses, particularly in uncertain and challenging market conditions”.

It continues: “Expanding our regulatory services will allow existing licensees to secure their position by providing new and enhanced service to consumers.

“Delivering a wider range of regulatory services will also allow the CLC to expand the number of licensees it regulates, so spreading the cost of regulation across a wider community.”

It will promote its regulatory approach to those potential licenses seeking “smart regulation that delivers maximum value to the sector and consumers at a reasonable cost”. This will be supported by a communications and marketing strategy aimed both at ABSs and also students for the CLC qualifications.

In a separate development, the CLC has amended its ABS licensing application to introduce the civil standard of proof in formal disciplinary cases following a consultation to which five responses were received, four of which supported the change. All of the regulators are moving in this direction.

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