New climate change guidance is a burden conveyancers could do without

The burden on conveyancers is set to increase after The Law Society of England and Wales last week confirmed solicitors have an overall duty to advise on climate change risks.

Conveyancing solicitors must now consider whether climate searches are required for every property transaction they oversee with the caveat that they “should not advise on climate change physical risks where it is outside their knowledge or qualification”.

Industry expert Stephen Desmond reflected the opinion of many in our sector when he stated on LinkedIn:

“The Law Society tells conveyancers that they must advise on climate change risks while at the same time remaining silent on the building safety crisis which is fast getting out of control… it’s good as always to see the Law Society staying ahead of the curve and representing the best interests of the conveyancing profession, isn’t it?”

This decision saddles conveyancers with a whole new area of liability on top of increasing concerns around compliance and AML. Those who are not professionally expert in climate change (likely 99% of conveyancers) will now feel duty bound to recommend climate change reports as a means of protection against future negligence claims.

Fortunately, at X-Press Legal Services we are always abreast of changes like this and have climate change products readily available from industry leaders Groundsure and Landmark. We are thankful our clients have immediate access to these online products but expect this new guidance will be of particular concern to law firms that have never sourced climate change searches before.

Nonetheless, given the immediate backlash from the legal community and the increasing exodus from the conveyancing sector, this is one piece of guidance solicitors could have done without!

By Dave Lister, X-Press Legal Services

Image of Dave Lister

This article was submitted to be published by X-Press Legal Services as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.

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