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To John Kunzler. Sorry John but if title insurance is available, then I'd like to know about it. Soon after the Mishcon report in February 2017, Countrywide Legal Indemnities withdrew their policy and First Title did so soon after. In my email to the Law Society (which I've mentioned already several times in comments on similar articles) I've suggested that Solicitors don’t actually have any realistic means of absolutely identifying someone who wants to instruct them when the Solicitor doesn’t know the prospective client personally. In fact in purchase cases, I've been driven to point out to clients that I have no effective means of checking that the seller isn't a fraudster and to suggest purchaser clients should employ a reputable firm of enquiry agents to check the seller's identity. I have no access to information about someone else's client, I can't contact them direct, I can't carry out electronic verification of their ID documents. I don’t have anything to offer my clients concerning other Solicitors' clients. We do need outside assistance with this, and not some feeble guidance either. We need help in advance of transactions going ahead from sources who can make effective enquiries, e.g. the police. We are not policemen/women, we are not private investigators. And we certainly don’t have crystal balls. I have even less weapons at my disposal than the company I employ to carry out electronic verification of clients' documents. And yet under Mishcon as it stands, if I'm acting for a buyer, I would be to blame. The judiciary should get real about this. So should the Law Society and the Land Registry (who apparently were able to uncover the Mishcon fraud but only AFTER it had occurred). What we need is effective help NOW.

I'm savvy enough not to open attachments to the strange emails I'm receiving these days supposedly seeking quotes. But what I can't do is know whether anyone who approaches me or another Solicitor to carry out a conveyancing transaction is genuine if I don’t know the person already, whatever checks I try to carry out.

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