By Legal Futures Associate Groundsure
Last week, the Law Society of England and Wales published their highly anticipated “Guidance on the Impact of Climate Change on Solicitors”. CIE, of which Groundsure is a founder member, is supportive of the clarity that the Law Society guidance now provides to the industry, particularly with regard to the conveyancer’s duties to their client and how they should consider any advice and information they provide in relation to climate change risks on property transactions.
The Guidance is also essential reading for managing partners and compliance officers to ensure that wider ESG risks are considered across the firm, with real estate teams being a key focus due to the value of the assets being transacted.
The guidance categorises climate risks and provides “Examples of climate legal risks created and impacts on client advice” including the following:-
“Consider the impact of physical events on conveyancing transactions. Is a climate search needed? Address the impact of climate events on the property within your advice (for instance, if the property is on a flood plain, address increasing flood risk incidence, cost and availability of insurance, and how this affects the decision to buy and the price).”
One of the key ways to identify the risk is through the use of climate analysis in search reports. In anticipation of the guidance, the Conveyancing Information Executive had already published their Climate Risk Reporting Compliance Note, confirming the minimum standards that any report produced by CIE members to support conveyancers and property purchasers should adhere to.
There will be sector-specific guidance to follow from the Law Society which we hope will clarify further the use of search reports in more detail as a core element in how firms can mitigate their risk and enhance their client advice on climate risks.