PLAG blasts “condescending” Law Society protocol form delay

Property Lawyers Action Group (PLAG) has responded to the Law Society’s decision to delay in the mandatory implementation of the updated fifth edition of the TA6 Property Information Form, describing the decision as ‘disappointing’ and ‘condescending’ in a statement circulated on Sunday (16th June) evening.

The group, which has been responsible for an online petition calling for a Special General Meeting of The Law Society in order to pursue a vote of no confidence in CEO Ian Jeffery, and President Nick Emmerson, said the decision to delay was ‘condescending’ and suggested the Law Society had already made up its mind on the implementation of the updated form.

PLAG describes itself as a ‘values-driven organisation comprised of practising lawyers, committed to promoting the best interests and well-being of lawyers, and property lawyers in particular, and influencing decisions which affect the legal property sector generally.’ It has not disclosed the number of members it has. Its position on the updated TA6 protocol form is derived from concerns around the expansion of conveyancer’s responsibilities ‘without sufficient cause or consultation and we strongly oppose further responsibilities being imposed upon conveyancers which invariably delay transactions and increase costs for our clients.’

The group has raised concerns about what it calls the ‘criminalisation’ of conveyancing when it comes to obligations under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), material and up front-information. ‘We are concerned’ they add ‘that this will escalate into mandatory use of Up-Front Information (UFI) which will replicate the many failures of Home Information Packs (HIPs).

The statement says The Law Society have not fully appreciated the strength of feeling around the lack of consultation on the updated TA6 form and is calling for it to be withdrawn.

On Friday The Law Society announced it will delay the mandatory introduction of the fifth edition of the TA6 Property Information Form for CQS accredited firms until 15th January 2025 with both the 4th edition, and 5th edition acceptable under the CQS protocol until then.

Property Lawyers Action Group Statement

The Property Lawyers Action Group (PLAG) responds to last Friday’s announcement by the Law Society regarding the ‘postponement’ of its controversial Fifth edition of the ‘TA6’ (Announcement).

The TA6 is based on the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team’s guidance on Material Information, which is not legally binding on estate agents (MI).

PLAG’S Reaction

PLAG considers the Announcement disappointing for several reasons. In particular:

  • How could the Law Society’s approach to MI be predicated on ‘pragmatism’ when its implementation would have far-reaching civil and criminal legal consequences for both the public and solicitors?

  • The Law Society has not appreciated the full extent of members’ anger over the lack of transparency concerning the adoption by the Law Society of MI.

  • Angry members expected therefore the TA6 to be withdrawn, not merely ‘postponed’.

  • PLAG considers it curious that the LS should suggest in the Announcement that:

    • ‘until 15 January 2025 members will be compliant with the CQS if they use either TA6 (4th edition, second revision) (2020) or if they use the new TA6’ Property Information Form (5th edition) (2024), Jeffery said’

  • This would imply the Law Society has already made up its mind.

  • PLAG considers the Law Society’s Announcement unfortunately to be condescending, especially as one solicitor has remarked for instance, that he felt like his own representative body, had declared war on its own members.

5 responses

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with what PLAG are saying. Lawyers have been treated very shabbily by the Law Society and I hope this will be a wakeup call for them.

  2. There is no legal obligation whatsoever on conveyancers to provide the MI elements of TA6. That is the estate agents duty. The Law Society presumably assumed that creating the expanded TA6 would fulfill the wish of NTSLEAT for Sellers to visit conveyancers before Listing a property.

    The lack of compliance from Estate Agents re MI is eye watering. They just don’t care. However forcing Solicitors to fill that gap without Consultation and through creating a massive form is appalling.

    The lack of regulation of estate agents is an issue.
    The lack of coordination across the property transaction sector is an issue.
    More and bigger forms a 20th Century approach to a 21st Century issue.

    But the biggest failing of The Law Society is letting the Conveyancing Association use the Law Society’s absence of leadership of and advocacy for Conveyancers to advance its own agenda as if the voice of all Conveyancers.

  3. I would urge anyone undertaking conveyancing or managing partners to take time to read the regulations as it will be clearly shown that by TLS endorsing Trading Standards list of MI they will make a criminal prosecution for solicitors, and their clients so much easier. Pretty appalling conduct by TLS, and not surprising there is so much anger being felt.
    Civil claims will naturally be expected to follow.

    Did not TLS or anyone they sent to engage with Trading Standards not have any knowledge, and experience in criminal law,especialy when Trading Standards are criminal prosecutors???

    Trading Standards like to prosecute those in charge, so directors and managing partners need to be alive to the risks.

  4. The distinct impression I got from the Law Society was to kick it down the road, hope everyone stops talking about it and introduce it quietly after Christmas when people have calmed down. I have no faith in the Law Society that they will listen to its members, amend the forms or introduce further guidance.

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