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Licensed conveyancers

Licensed conveyancers specialise in transfers of property or pieces of land from one person to another.

They must register with the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. The Council makes sure conveyancers abide by professional codes of conduct and work in a competent manner.

Complaints about poor service

Poor service is a broad concept that is likely to cover complaints that arise where a licensed conveyancer has done any of the following:

  • Been rude to you
  • Caused unreasonable delay
  • Failed to give you a final bill
  • Not done what you told them to do
  • Managed your case unprofessionally
  • Given you inaccurate or incomplete information
  • Failed to reply to your correspondence or keep you updated on your case
  • Failed to give you enough information about their charges before they start your case.

Complaints about negligence

Negligence is when a licensed conveyancer either fails to work to the same standard that a reasonably competent licensed conveyancer normally would, or acts in a way that a reasonably competent licensed conveyancer wouldn't in the circumstances.

Complaints about professional misconduct

All licensed conveyancers must act according to their professional code of conduct. If they don't, they may have committed professional misconduct. For example, if your licensed conveyancer commits any one of the following acts then they may be guilty of professional misconduct:

  • Causing serious delay
  • Failing to keep information confidential
  • Acting against your instructions or best interests
  • Dropping a case at short notice without good reason
  • Acting dishonestly or in a way that damages the profession's reputation

For more information about making a complaint about professional misconduct, see the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.

How to complain

Initial letter of complaint

Before you draft your initial letter, ensure you get the following:

  • Their written complaints procedure, which they must provide free of charge
  • Information of your right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman

You should then write to the licensed conveyancer or to the person responsible for complaints in their office.

When the licensed conveyancer receives your complaint, they must write to you within 7 days to acknowledge this. They must then send a full response within 28 days of the day you make the complaint. They must also keep you informed about the progress of your complaint.

After you've sent your letter, you should wait at least 8 weeks to give the licensed conveyancer time to respond.

Complaining to the Legal Ombudsman

If you don't receive a response after this period, or if you're not happy with their response, you can complain to the Legal Ombudsman.

The Legal Ombudsman is the body responsible for dealing with complaints about poor service (which includes negligence). It can award up to £50,000 if the poor service has caused you loss.

It's also the place you should direct complaints about a licensed conveyancer's professional misconduct. The Legal Ombudsman will decide whether to notify the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.

What is the law guide

The Desktop Lawyer law guide aims to present the law to you in a comprehensive yet jargon-free and easy-to-read format. Our law guide is constantly kept up to date with changes in business and family law by our team of in house solicitors, and includes information across all the legal jurisdictions in the UK.

Our law guide is free to use. Where we provide documents related to this area of law, or where they may help you with any legal issue in this area, they will be listed to the right of this message.

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