Enquiries – addressing the black hole of conveyancing

Following a string of irked LinkedIn posts surrounding the issue of enquiries, Today’s Conveyancer has set out to discover exactly how the “black hole of conveyancing” is affecting conveyancers.

Peter Ambrose, owner and Managing Director of The Partnership, explained how the “inexorable” number of enquiries is “causing tempers to fray”:

“The latest focus for our increasingly polarised society is the issue of pre-contract enquiries. Delays due to the inexorable rise in the numbers being asked – combined with a fall in their relevancy – are causing tempers to fray amongst many in the conveyancing community.

From our initial analysis of tracking enquiries over 20,000 cases, the problem does seem to be getting worse.”

On why the issue is worsening, Ambrose said:

“It appears that the culprit behind this latest battleground is a toxic combination of inexperience, inconsistency and non-existent management of the process. It’s this lack of visibility that is responsible for so many problems in transactions – that’s why we call it the ‘black hole of conveyancing’.

When faced with a large number of potentially irrelevant enquiries, there is a temptation amongst a vocal minority to blame these on ‘unqualified case handlers’. However, it is experience, not qualifications, that determines the ability to raise appropriate enquiries. This is a problem because this is the key ingredient the conveyancing industry desperately needs right now, and one that cannot be addressed in the near future.

It’s not just the number and relevance of enquiries being raised, but the consistency of how they are asked and their responses. This is caused by a lack of management within firms who don’t have the systems and the processes to deal with them. Lawyers working in adjoining offices will raise totally different enquiries on the same property.”

Ambrose went on to explain that the solution may lie within technology, suggesting the right tools will help “shine a light into the black hole of conveyancing”:

“Both of these issues can only be addressed by technology.

Our experience has shown that by standardising enquiries that are tailored to the specific property profile, we reduce the number we raise. The same technology has enabled us to open up these enquiries to our clients and share them with agents. This streamlined process has reduced the time involved in their management, both freeing up our lawyers’ time and reducing the risks involved.

Technology exists today to shine a light into the ‘black hole of conveyancing’ – it’s time for the industry to embrace the benefits that it will bring us all.”

Peter Ambrose is the owner and Managing Director of The Partnership, a boutique legal provider specialising in the delivery of transparent and ultra-efficient conveyancing services.

All poll submissions will remain anonymous. Data submitted may be published at a later date.

2 responses

  1. This issue is also being discussed at length on the Bold Legal Group online forum and certainly needs addressing. Surely the first place to start would be any ‘guilty’ firms that are CQS accredited?

  2. This is exacerbated by the race to the bottom in respect of fees. Pay peanuts get monkeys. Why is it the people are willing to pay per hour for legal services for life decisions relating to divorce or crime but yet legal advice in relation to purchasing a property is seen as a formality and just a side issue to get their keys?

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