Conveyancers “want to keep using old TA forms”

Jordan: Compliance is a priority

A leading digital conveyancing company has promised to offer law firm clients the option of using the new or old TA forms for as long as possible as the controversy over them rumbles on.

InfoTrack said that while previously any changes have been adopted “quickly and quietly well ahead of any deadlines”, this was the first time firms had asked it not to update the forms.

The new forms become mandatory for firms signed up to the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) on 25 June.

Sam Jordan, InfoTrack’s chief operating officer, said: “We use official Law Society forms throughout our conveyancing platform and are their largest digital licensee, as with all the forms we’ve worked hard to make them work in a digital format.

“While we completely understand the deep reservations of some conveyancers, compliance remains a foremost consideration so we will always support law firms in this space. We have also seen several of our clients exploring how these forms could change the way they work with referring agents.

“Assuming that there are no last-minute changes, the switch to the updated forms will happen on the deadline but we will continue to offer both versions for as long as we can.”

InfoTrack said around 30 law firms have been part of a small trial where they used approximately 1,000 of the updated forms, which have raised fears about exposing law firms to increased liabilities as well as some practical concerns about their use.

It cited Rubina Ferreira, a consultant residential conveyancer at Woodstock Legal, who said the changes to the TA6 form would cause a rise in enquiries and delay transactions.

She said: “I believe the new TA6 form will add to transaction delays as there are now almost double the pages, and questions that aren’t relevant to a property transaction. Most firms are waiting until the 25 June before using the new forms.

“If a firm is CQS regulated, then they are required to use the new form; however, Council for Licensed Conveyancer firms are not obliged to use them. If you have either regulated firm on the other side of a matter, this will cause an imbalance and will likely increase enquiries.”

Earlier this month, the Law Society apologised for not consulting more widely on the new firms but has insisted that the changes will go ahead.

“As such, several firms have chosen to bite the bullet and switch over early to ensure that their practices remain compliant,” InfoTrack said.

The furore over the forms led the Property Lawyers Action Group to collect the signatures it needed to call a special general meeting of the Law Society.

The group’s motion expresses no confidence in president Nick Emmerson and chief executive Ian Jeffery “to properly and effectively represent those members of the Society who undertake conveyancing”.

The Law Society has yet to announce when the meeting will be held.

    Readers Comments

  • Andrew England Kerr says:

    A Law Society representative told me in writing that a similar form issued by National Association of Estate Agents would increase liability to sellers.The new TA6 is a disaster that exposé’s unnecessary civil and criminal liability to sellers and solicitors that also has potential of damaging the housing market when sellers know the full cost and adverse legal implications, just like the infamous HIPS. The new TA6 has been bought in by the back door by persons who no doubt had little or no knowledge of the horrendous implications of criminal strict liability of similar legislation.
    A sad day for the profession and for the Society who seemed keen to criminalise its own members unnecessarily.

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