MMC gives property shops the green light

The Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC) has ended an 18-month investigation into Scotland's solicitors' property centres by clearing them of anti-competitive behaviour.

The MMC's long-awaited ruling, announced last Friday, said Scotland's property centres enjoyed a monopoly but acted in the public interest.

Law Society of Scotland president John Elliot said the MMC's decision was a victory for the profession.

Edinburgh Solicitors' Property Centre chair George Clark said its belief that it was acting in the public interest had now been vindicated.

The MMC's ruling has cleared what many believe to be the last potential obstacle for the proposed property shops planned for England.

Last week, Solicitors' Property Centres (SPC) announced that 500 firms had signed up to the scheme – enough to make the project viable.

SPC director Richard Berenson said more than 15 firms a day were still signing up and the first property shop would open early next year.