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Rayner, the buyer's solicitor probably did check that the seller had good title.
For the sake of argument, say you get a contract with the name Michael James on the contract, and Michael James on the title provided by the seller, you would have assumed that the seller's solicitor has taken out all their checks under know your client. But what if it was a different Michael James who instructed the seller? Say they rented the property, changed the name at Deed Poll and changed his passport, driving licence, council tax and all other bills to be the same name as the owner. How much more due diligence can you carry out.
From this case, it appears that the names were exactly the same, as the fraudster changed his name to be the same as that on the title. The buyer's solicitor was found liable because he didn't raise an enquiry asking for the seller's solicitor to confirm/undertake that they have taken reasonable steps to identify the seller. For me, this has now made the job as a buyer's solicitor all the more harder.

On a separate note, would it be so intrusive to put the DOB on the title for each registered proprietor at the Land Registry? Or at least the month and year. The chances of them being the same as the fraudster is low, and would offer more protection.

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