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It has taken the Law Society a long time to respond to the High Court decision from December 2016, hasn't it?
In all the years I have researched and lectured on conveyancing, this decision is one of most unjust I have read. Mishcon did nothing wrong in this case and yet merely because they carried professional indemnity insurance, the court held that they were liable for breach of trust in the amount of more than £1 million.
In my view, the Law Society needs to be careful in advocating the view which, in essence, states that the solicitor acting for the fraudster should always liable for the other conveyancer's client's losses arising from a property fraud. In saying that, I have in mind a recent case where the court held that the buyer's conveyancer and the seller's solicitor were equally liable for the losses incurred by the buyer as a result of a fraud by a bogus vendor.
Also, it would be unfair to automatically impose liability on the conveyancer acting for the fraudster where the conveyancer has undertaken appropriate due diligence and could not have discovered the fraud prior to completion.
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