I was very pleased to read the article regarding Hart Brown’s disdain for ‘pet solicitors’. I agree wholeheartedly and I have always found it incredible that such arrangements have not been properly scrutinised by the regulators or the media.
However, this extends to referral fees generally across the market, and not just new-builds. If solicitors were recommended on the basis of service and reputation, rather than kickbacks or other internal arrangements, then clients across the country would only benefit as competition would be free to flourish.
Good solicitors would keep standards high to maintain referrals from reputable estate agents and brokers, and free competition would keep fees at reasonable levels for clients. Financial incentives and internal arrangements are a sad reflection on conveyancing standards across England and Wales. They could easily be outlawed as the artificial restrictions on the market that they pretend not to be. It is about time the SRA, CLC or even the LSB did something about it.
Gareth Collins is associate solicitor at Anderson Rowntree, West Sussex