A straightforward sale and purchase transaction took almost four months to reach exchange of contracts.

There were innumerable delays for reasons which largely boiled down to lack of communication or co-ordination and a complete lack of any sense of urgency on the part of the conveyancers.

All this left the clients completely disillusioned and stressed by the whole experience.

Instead of simply getting on with things, we sometimes seem intent on point-scoring and nit-picking. We become tied up in regulatory knots and often seem to make a meal of the simplest of transactions.  

Add to this the fact that some conveyancers are simply far too busy and it all adds up to a cocktail of confusion, muddle and delay for the clients.

The worst thing is that we often seem completely oblivious of the effect that all this has on our clients who were, at the outset, relishing the thought of moving into their dream home.

Is it any wonder that the profession gets a bad name when it comes to conveyancing? While most practitioners do an excellent job for their clients in sometimes difficult circumstances, it is the actions of the few that affect all of us. If we do not wake up and do something about these shortcomings, others will, and solicitors will be painted out of the picture.

Richard Atkins, Property partner, Taylor Walton, Harpenden