Just over half of conveyancing firms have applied for accreditation under the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), with those yet to do so unconvinced of the benefits, according to new research.
The survey of 586 conveyancers by Searches UK found that 52% had applied for CQS (including 4.3% who had been rejected), and that more than four out of five believed it had helped their firms maintain or achieve panel membership with some lenders.
There was also hope that the society’s recently announced professional indemnity insurance package for those with CQS accreditation would lead to lower premiums, although some respondents were sceptical about this happening.
However, there was a mixed response to an open question for respondents’ overall opinion of CQS. Some considered it “excellent”, others a process-driven scheme that does not judge knowledge of the law, while a number saw it as having limited value (“to an extent, a ‘brand within a brand’,” said one) or even being a waste of time and money.
Of those yet to apply for CQS, more than two-thirds (69%) said they had no intention of doing so soon. Some were ineligible, like licensed conveyancers – although 70% of respondents thought CQS should be open to them – while others, such as sole practitioners, felt it would not be worth their while as they would still face enormous difficulties in getting on panels. “A few have no intention of joining because they simply do not believe in the merits of the scheme,” the survey reported.
Some 58% of respondents also thought search providers should be able to apply for CQS, a position Searches UK managing director Andrew Stenning said he supported. “Searches are a vital part of any conveyancing transaction and Searches UK believes that the conveyancing process would be further better regulated and quality assured if search providers, as well as other professions within the conveyancing industry were also allowed to join.”