Diary of a high street conveyancer: 2nd May 2023

Being a solicitor, I like rules and I like (most) laws. I like the fact that barristers wear wigs and gowns; I like the fact that Judges wear robes – no dress down Fridays for them when they are in court!

Being such a dull lawyer, I was reading about the fashion of the law over this weekend and it is fascinating. For example, wigs are worn because that was what was worn during the reign of Charles II.

I like the history of the traditions. These traditions have evolved over time, so, for example, the full-bottomed wig was worn for criminal trials until the 1840s but is today reserved for ceremonial dress.

It then got me thinking about other traditions within conveyancing which would have been commonplace 30 years ago but would now appear strange to younger practitioners.

Many of us will remember doing personal completions (unheard of today) when, if acting for the buyer, you would visit the sellers’ solicitor’s office, hand over a banker’s draft and take away the Deeds and signed Transfer Deed or Conveyance.

Documents were sent to the Stamp Office with a cheque for the stamp duty payable and you would receive a document with red seals /stamps down the side of the front page.

I am sure that many of us like it when we have to draft an Epitome of Title and work out the title of the property and what constitutes a good root of title – proper, old-style conveyancing, which I understand is no longer taught in many institutions.

Conveyancing has moved on. So much has been digitised – which does make our lives easier – but it’s nice to remember the old way of doing conveyancing and, in particular, getting to know local practitioners and knowing that you could always sort out any issues with them rather than having to rely on emails.

So, enjoy the Coronation this coming weekend, and if you want to impress your family, tell them about the Coronation Oath Act 1688 which established a single uniform oath to be taken by future monarchs at their coronation and still exists today. History is a great thing!


This is written by a real high street conveyancer who wishes to remain anonymous. Read more in Today’s Conveyancer every week.

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