Jarndyce v Jarndyce?

Jarndyce v Jarndyce?

by Readers Question

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11:23 AM, 7th January 2021, About 4 years ago 12

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Over the past 20 years of buying and selling houses, I’ve always tried to do my own conveyancing, unless a mortgage was involved. I do this to keep in close contact with the sale and because I tend to be far quicker and (dare I add) at least as efficient as most solicitors.

Recently, more and more firms have refused to deal with me, despite the fact that legally I am allowed to deal with my own conveyancing when buying or selling in my own name. The usual excuse is ‘money laundering’ despite there being numerous safeguards already in place to prevent this.

I am currently selling a flat. The Offer was accepted early in November. The Contract was sent out at once. Three weeks later, the seller’s solicitor decided to tell me her firm would not co-operate with me. I was forced to instruct my own solicitor (or lose the sale.)

This I did early in December. I also provided as many documents as possible to help speed up proceedings. I have yet to have even an acknowledgement from my solicitors despite a polite email from me. No letter of conditions, no request for a deposit for their work. Nothing.

Two months after the offer I have still to get off the ground. Hopeless. Which is why I intend to re-read Bleak House, by Dickins, and shake my head in disbelief at the case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce – a byword for interminable legal proceedings. Grrrr


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Paul Shears

9:58 AM, 8th January 2021, About 3 years ago

Same experience here.
I have done every permutation on buying and selling houses over many years without a solicitor.
The first was the worst.
Estate agent fought me (Arrogant, incompetent liar).
Seller fought me (Stupid and utterly unnecessary lies).
Seller’s solicitor fought me. E.g. sent me every conveyance back to the 17th century – Head lease & under leases (Many in Middle English - which unfortunately for everyone else involved in this matter, I had studied!).
Contracts "race" to discourage me.
Repeated lying by the seller. The conveyance, written by myself and an absolutely legally correct work of art on velum paper, was ruined by the seller’s solicitor in an attempt to undermine my motivation.
Finally, just as I lifted my pen from the contract, the seller’s solicitor, in front of the seller said "No solicitor would ever stand a chance against you."
I replied completely over generously "I only have one client".
"That's right" he replied.
All of this completely went over the head of the seller present.
I make the above observations not to show how clever I am.
That is simply not the case.
Rather I make them out of a deep resentment of this old boys club of the utterly incompetent and irresponsible.
Most conveyancing is a completely unskilled task requiring no training whatsoever.
Just a basic education and some basic discipline.
But solicitors, in my extensive experience, work in groups and use minimum wage staff to do 98% of the work.
Such staff are completely out of their depth, devoid of judgement and discipline, and the situation has got worse over the years as even their light weight tasks have increasingly been completed by algorithms.
You really cannot fail to do a far better job on every last detail than the "professionals".
I will observe here that the law society itself is worse than the worst of the solicitors that I have had to deal with.
Even if you win your case against a solicitor, as I did, the law society with ensure that you regret it by making the whole affair incredibly burdensome and pointless.
I’m even including one firm of solicitors, whom I became totally convinced, were using cheap helpdesk calibre staff in India to actually do the work.
I note that successive governments have completely failed to address this fraudulent mess whilst spending vast amounts of recycled tax money to promise otherwise.
Thus they compound the problem.

Judith Wordsworth

13:00 PM, 8th January 2021, About 3 years ago

I too have always find my own conveyancing.
On a sale last October the buyers solicitor said I either had to employ a solicitor to do the simultaneous exchange and completion or hand over the keys before they would send the money. Solicitors tried to demand ID1 was used even though the Land Registry said both verbally and in their website at this Covid time ID3 was the correct way to go.

As the buyer was the council, and I kept a set of keys on the QT, I didn't hand their agent, who wanted to check the property was empty before authorising the in-house solicitors to transfer the completion monies, any keys until she had made the phone call in front of me. Took a chance that it would work out ok. Thankfully it did. Even the Land Registry thought this was incorrect procedure and risky.

The legal sale cost, including postage, stationary etc was less than £130. Cheapest licenced conveyancer quote was £895 plus VAT. Solicitor quote was nearly double that.

There is no legal requirement for a SRA solicitor or Licensed Conveyancer to to a conveyance.

Katy Ann

13:53 PM, 8th January 2021, About 3 years ago

Has anyone complained to the Law Society about solicitors refusing to deal with people who are legally allowed todo their own conveyancing?

Paul Shears

14:39 PM, 8th January 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Katy Ann at 08/01/2021 - 13:53
Based on my previous experience, I would strongly advise that you do not do this. The law society bring a whole new meaning to the word "incompetence". I would expect the situation to drag on for twelve months rather than six! During which, I would expect to waste truly vast amounts of time and effort trying to get some sort of intelligence and responsibility from what amounts to nothing more than a confused biological algorithm.
I had two branches of the law society involved and it took around a year for them to realise this! This was their incompetence and absolutely not of my doing. It was only when I repeatedly complained that they were asking for things that I had already provided months previously, that they realised that they had two unconnected staff working ion the same case at the same time. At this point one of them simply dropped out. Frankly, despite the fancy name, it was obvious to me that they were simply too dim to do the jobs that they were employed to do. They were far worse than the most incompetent solicitors that I have encountered over the decades.

James Noble

8:34 AM, 9th January 2021, About 3 years ago

The excuses they give range from 'Money Laundering' risks and that their insurance doesn't cover this situation. I do intend to write to the Law Society to ask what their position is when dealing which buyers who wish to do their own conveyancing. Of course, when a mortgage is involved, the mortgage company will insist you use a solicitor / licensed conveyancer. The flat I live in now took me two weeks from viewing to completing. (in the circumstances, it was obvious I didn't require the local searches.) Now I'm selling, and being forced to use a solicitor, we are already two months down the line. The Contract was produced yesterday. And it really is a simple, straight-forward sale. Hopeless.
I once sold to a solicitor. Nine months after the sale he asked if I could provide a new ID1, as my original had expired. He had yet to register the property with the Land Registry. What an idiot! And their fees seem to have rocketed over the last couple of years. Even the 'cheap' on-line conveyances are now very expensive. Oh, and why do they and estate agents still insist on quoting without VAT? My solicitor wants £950 (plus VAT !) Is it that £1140 sounds rather expensive? A couple of years ago I would have expected a fee of around £600 (plus VAT !)
Solicitors, estate agents, and the taxman. It makes any capital gain more difficult these days.


11:53 AM, 9th January 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Shears at 08/01/2021 - 09:58
I am a retired solicitor who managed to get through around 55 years doing almost anything but conveyancing. Subject to correction, you were treated appallingly but I suspect many of your 'other sides' were terrified of what they might have to do to remedy layman's faults (not in your case) but also your inability to give a satisfactorily acceptable legal undertaking?

James Noble

18:06 PM, 9th January 2021, About 3 years ago

I've never been required to give a legal undertaking - because I would be unable to do so. This is why a transaction with a mortgage requires a solicitor. A typical purchase /sale really is simple (when you know what you are doing.) Fill in the correct form at the correct time. The members of the legal profession like to cover themselves with a mystical veneer which only they can understand, and then send out dire warning should any lay person dare to try it themselves. At a rough calculation, I've done my own conveyancing about 40 times so far - without a hitch. Indeed, a number of the solicitors whom I have dealt with have been very complimentary about my speed and accuracy. More importantly, I've felt in charge. James

Ian Narbeth

15:33 PM, 11th January 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by James Noble at 09/01/2021 - 18:06James
I am a conveyancing solicitor. When contracts are exchanged and when completion occurs solicitors give undertakings to send their part of the contract, to send their part of the transfer and (in the case of the Seller's solicitor) to procure the discharge of any charge.

The other party's solicitor will also need to verify your identity which takes time. The Law Society impose extra duties on solicitors dealing with unrepresented parties and this inevitably leads to additional work for which the client will not want to pay.
You may well be competent to do conveyancing but not every unrepresented person is and how are the solicitors supposed to know in advance (a) that you are competent and (b) that a solicitor's undertaking will not be required?
When I buy a property I use another firm. It takes pressure off me and saves me time.

James Noble

18:25 PM, 11th January 2021, About 3 years ago

I always tell any solicitor I might be dealing with that I have done this before on numerous occasions. If there is a mortgage or charge on either side, then I instruct a solicitor. I send my signed and agreed contract (if selling) or agreed transfer (if buying) well in advance for the solicitor to hold ready for exchange / completion. I can provide an ID1 (signed by my local solicitor.) I can even call round, if reasonably local, and present passport etc. I make the point again that it is my right to deal with my own conveyancing. I don't agree it makes a significant difference to the work required by a solicitor. I have been educated to PhD level and quite capable of dealing with a conveyance. If a solicitor did come across an incompetent lay-person, they can simply refuse to co-operate with them - at that point - but not before! They would then have to instruct a solicitor. The competence of a lay-person would soon become clear. My solicitor has just informed me that my (very simple) sale may take up to 10 weeks. I'm also about to sell a property at auction (with a different solicitor!) All the paperwork for the auction was done within three days. 3 days / ten weeks? All the forms were dealt with on-line. It's amazing what you can do these days - well beyond the old quill and ink. James

Paul Shears

18:27 PM, 11th January 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 11/01/2021 - 15:33Well that cuts both ways in any walk of life.
See previous comments from others and myself everywhere on almost any subject you are likely to think of.
Every conveyance that I have done has involved a mortgage but it looks like yet more bureaucracy than ever has been introduced.

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