Snow joke for panel lawyers

The last time a high street bank slashed its conveyancing panel, one objector launched a Government e-petition.

The argument against HSBC was that slashing the roster of firms that can advise on its residential property sales from thousands to 43 was harsh on homebuyers in far-out locations who now have to travel to the nearest panel firm to access a solicitor who fits the bill.

Campaigner Robert Hailstone, who initiated the petition, says he has no plans to do the same in response to Nationwide’s similar procurement process. As we report today, the building society has slashed its own Scottish conveyancing panel, albeit slightly less dramatically.

The Law Society of England and Wales brandished its proverbial weapons over HSBC’s night of long knives – and now its counterpart across the border, the Law Society of Scotland, is up in arms over Nationwide’s panel cull. The chief of its property law committee says the cull will have a “detrimental effect on solicitors and on members of the public who may not be able to go to their solicitor of choice to carry out conveyancing work”.

Which is all pretty accurate if you live up in the Highlands. Remember when a woman got stuck in the snow after a trip to Inverness to buy a Christmas turkey and couldn’t see her husband for 30 days?

With Scotland once again covered in snow, its countrymen and women might just struggle to trek to their nearest panel firm. Now who’d want to go for 30 days without seeing a lawyer?