Conveyancing rule aims to deflect gazump blame

the Law Society Council has put guidance regulating the conduct of solicitors selling property on a more formal footing by passing a practice rule.

The rule states that if a seller decides to deal with more than one buyer, then the solicitor, with the client's consent, should notify all those parties who are involved in the “contract race”.

It is hoped that the new rule will go some way towards protecting the public from costs which they might be forced to incur through “gazumping”. By doing so it will deflect blame away from solicitors.

However, the rule does not oblige the vendor's solicitor to exchange contracts with the first buyer to deliver a signed contract.

The matter is in the hands of the Master of the Rolls, but it is expected the amendment to Rule 6A will come into effect next March.

But some members of the council were reluctant last week to impose any further rules and regulations on the profession.

Peter Verdin, of Wigan firm Healds, commented at last week' council meeting: “The task of the solicitor is to have broad shoulders and to take the flak for what the client has asked.”