The Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (“CQS”) and its Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (“WIQS”) provide recognised quality standards for residential conveyancers and private client practitioners. Those who are accredited must operate stringent policies on matters such as staff supervision, file reviews, risk management, fraud and anti-money laundering, file and case management etc. Members must demonstrate compliance with the Conveyancing Protocol and the Wills and Inheritance Protocol. CQS accreditation is now a prerequisite for membership of many lender panels.
General obligations set out in the Conveyancing Protocol include:-
8. Respond to all communications promptly or in accordance with agreed timeframes…
9. Deal with transaction materials including correspondence, electronic or otherwise, efficiently and with care and consideration…
10. Ensure all incoming data is loaded onto the system and made available to the person dealing within a day of receipt, where any automated data handling or scanning of documents is used.
11. Use the most up-to-date version of forms, formulae and codes provided by the Law Society.
12. Ensure proper arrangements are made for file management (including cover for absent colleagues) during any period of planned or unplanned absence.
Samples of the preferred practice set out in the Conveyancing Protocol include:-
Stage A: Instructions (2):-
Comply with all regulatory requirements which include submitting an estimate of fees and disbursements and issuing a client care/retainer letter and any terms and conditions…..Carry out and record verification of identity and compliance with Money Laundering Regulations…
Stage B: Pre-exchange (21):-
Check the identity of the buyer’s/seller’s solicitor unless they are personally known to you. Follow the latest SRA and Law Society guidance and advice. Record and keep copies of evidence.
Intelliworks Conveyancing’s detailed workflows follow the preferred practice set out in the Conveyancing Protocol and help to maintain consistent standards for file reviews, supervision and file management. Tools such as Intelliworks IDCheck, Lawyer Checker and Intelliworks Reporting assist with risk management, anti-money laundering and guarding against fraud. Use of Intelliworks Quotes and Virtual Firm (online case tracking) bolster client communication.
General obligations set out in the Wills and Inheritance Protocol include:-
OB.3 At the outset, give clients an explanation of the issues raised, the options for dealing with them, the processes involved, and a likely time frame for the matter.
OB.8 Carry out tasks in a timely manner.
OB.20 Be aware of the potential for financial abuse of clients and understand your role in both preventing it and taking action to protect clients who have been financially abused.
OB.21 Take particular care to ensure that vulnerable clients fully understand the services they require and that they are able to make informed decisions.
OB.29 Ensure that:…(b) there is a system of supervision in place which is robust enough to identify issues of quality;
OB.30 Encourage client feedback by appropriate means, eg a short survey/feedback form.
Samples of the preferred practice set out in the Wills and Inheritance Protocol include:-
Part A Will Drafting
1.6.1 Ascertain whether the practice has made an earlier will for the client and, if so, retrieve the will file from storage and read the earlier will.
1.6.4 Discuss with the client the reasons for changes from any earlier wills.
2.1.2 The will drafter must: (a) assess the client’s capacity to give instructions…; (b) check that the client is not subject to undue influence; and (c) produce a will that effectively carries out the client’s testamentary wishes.
Part B General Estate Administration
19.1.1 Consider whether it is appropriate to carry out a ‘bankruptcy only’ search against the deceased…
Customer due diligence:-
21.9.1 Carry out appropriate customer due diligence on personal representatives.
Inheritance tax account and calculation of the inheritance tax due:
26.1.1 Carry out the steps in obligations 26.1.2-26.1.7 below to complete the inheritance tax account and calculate the inheritance tax due as appropriate.
Intelliworks Private Client’s detailed workflows follow the preferred practice set out in the Wills and Inheritance Protocol and help to maintain consistent standards for risk management, file reviews, supervision and file management. Intelliworks’ risk-managed will drafting and probate workflows, including tailored correspondence and up-to-date documents, pre-populated IHT forms and STEP-compliant estate accounts, help to ensure that the standards of the Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme are maintained.
- Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme Protocol
- Law Society Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme Protocol
- STEP Code for Will Preparation in England & Wales
- Law Society’s Estate Administration: Banking Protocols practice note
- Law Society’s Financial Abuse practice note
- Law Society’s Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 practice note
- Law Society’s Disputed Wills practice note
- Law Society’s Appointment of a Professional Executor practice note
- Law Society’s Bankrupt Beneficiaries Practice Note