Society set to end scale fees fight

THE PRESIDENCY and the Law Society Council appear set to bury their differences to push forward measures to end the slump in conveyancing fees.

Consultation on plans to withdraw indemnity fund insurance from firms which undercut minimum set conveyancing fees, promoted by Law Society vice-president Robert Sayer, looks set to go to the profession in December.

And determination to put the proposals before the Master of the Rolls as soon as possible is forming, although many acknowledge the bid to raise fees may fail.

Last week saw progress towards a solution, with Richard Hegarty, chair of the society's property and commercial services committee, backing the plans. He said there had been broad support for the paper at a meeting last week, although many problems had to be ironed out before the society could make the best case possible for the proposals. “Nobody came out and said we shouldn't go down this route,” he said.

A conveyancing paper was also circulated last week by former presidential candidate Eileen Pembridge which won praise from council members.

She opposes Sayer's plans but says that a solution can be found if mutual insurance is granted only to solicitors who can demonstrate adherence to quality standards.