In my article (The Lawyer 13 February) I asked what lessons were learned and what useful information was gained as a result of the Law Society's December 1994 study into the use of a conveyancing quality mark in Northern Ireland. It also looked at successful conveyancing firms in this country. It would appear that no response has been made to my question, either by the Council of the Law Society or Richard Hegarty, the chairman of the Property and Commercial Services Committee.
The lack of response raises a few possibilities: (a) Was the study carried out? If not, why not? If it was, what were the results? (b) Were the lessons learned kept quiet because their publication would do more harm than good to the issue of conveyancing fees? In any event, what criteria makes a conveyancing firm successful? Profit? High volume work? Low overheads? The lack of claims on the indemnity fund? Satisfied clients? Who makes this decision?
I now challenge someone, Richard Hegarty or Robert Sayer perhaps, to reply to the above questions. The conveyancing fee debate is in turmoil - replies to the above may help clear the picture.
The Sottish Law Society is looking into the use of a quality charter mark as a marketing tool. This is similar to something I am currently investigating on behalf of my member firms. However my charter is not limited to keeping only the client happy but also others involved in the conveyancing process, i.e. estate agents, building societies and so on. It is intended that the charter will also be reciprocal so that the service conveyancers receive from the others involved is also of a high standard. If anyone wants further information about my charter, please let me know. I have said for some time that all parties in conveyancing transactions should work together as much as possible in order to improve the system for their own benefit and for the benefit of the client.