In most domestic property transactions, a UK conveyancing and mortgage solicitor will act for a client in both the sale of their existing property and in the purchase of their new property and will deal with all financial transactions including the mortgage. UK conveyancing and mortgage solicitors effectively give a discount on legal costs for clients who instruct them on both transactions.

Solicitors who are based out of London and can keep overheads low allowing them to give extremely competitive quotes whilst still ensuring that your legal work is carried out by an experienced conveyancing solicitor. Property conveyancing solicitors can deal with all property transactions using the post, phone, fax and email. The Land Registry has announced that they anticipate e-conveyancing will be available throughout the country and this may lead to a reduction in solicitors charges and the advent of relatively cheap conveyancing and there will certainly be a reduction on current charges as the whole process becomes electronic and automated.

Whilst a conveyancing and mortgage solicitor can act for the same client who is both buying and selling different property what a solicitor cannot do, except in certain unusual circumstances, is act for both buyer and seller of the same property due to the possibility of a conflict of interest where both parties would need advice on how to deal with one another. The circumstances where the same solicitor can act for both parties include low value transactions and close family members.

There is however a further similar exception to the conflict rule and different conveyancing and mortgage solicitors within the same firm can act in the purchase and sale of the same property by the effective erection of ‘Chinese walls’ whereby there is no commonality or sharing of confidential information. Unfortunately, many solicitors and most clients have no faith in this system, and it is advisable in most cases to use different firms to preclude the possibility of any allegation of breach of confidential information which would give one client an advantage over the other.

The Land Registry has announced that it is testing an e-conveyancing scheme that will see all conveyancing transactions carried out electronically which will inevitably lead to relatively cheap conveyancing compared to the present situation. The scheme was initially being tested by 80 legal firms in the South of England. The software which is being jointly developed by IBM and the Land Registry is known as the ‘chain matrix system’ and conveyancing and mortgage solicitors will no longer be required to send hard copy paper documents to each other but will be able to view, electronically sign and instantly transmit documents over the internet. The chain matrix system will flag readiness for exchange of contracts and for completion and will have dedicated notepad and messaging ability. All parties concerned in the transaction can communicate through the system and access each other’s data to see exactly the stage that other parties are at and be able to identify any potential problems or reasons for delay. It is predicted that that the system will reduce delay and stress in the property purchase and sale procedure.