The Lawyer puts Standard Mortgage Instructions back on track

Negotiations between the Law Society and mortgage lenders over plans to set up Standard Mortgage Instructions (SMI) are back on track after, it seems, an inadvertent intervention by The Lawyer.

So far, three years of talks have failed to produce SMI, which would help conveyancers, who currently encounter over 100 different instructions from lenders each imposing different responsibilities on the solicitor.

Last week, Fiona Hoyle, senior legal adviser to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), told The Lawyer that talks had broken down.

The CML's latest representation had been with the Law Society so long, Hoyle said, the council was “under the impression they didn't want to go ahead”.

But when The Lawyer asked Ken Byass, chairman of the property and commercial services committee at the Law Society, he said discussions were on the “back burner” until after the July council meeting, when changes to rules governing conveyancers would be discussed.

After hurried communication between Chancery Lane and the CML, Hoyle contacted The Lawyer to say she was delighted the Law Society had not abandoned the talks and looked forward to hopefully producing an SMI by the end of the year.