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Everything you need to know about Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS)

Everything you need to know about Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS)

The Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) is a recognised standard for Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) authorised/regulated firms that practice residential conveyancing law in England and Wales. 

The scheme requires firms to undergo a strict assessment, compulsory training and random audits. The initial accreditation lasts for 12 months and firms are required to re-apply to the scheme each year in order to maintain CQS accredited status, to ensure that they continue to meet the standards required. 

 

The 2022 updates 

The Law Society updated the CQS standards last year, to continue to drive improvement within the profession. In February 2022, it published the updated Core Practice Management Standards (CPMS). All CQS-accredited organisations must comply with these updated Standards. Ochresoft updated all Intelliworks workflows which were impacted by the new requirements, and released them to our customers in advance of the new CPMS implementation date. 

Last year, we ran a series of website blogs detailing the main changes in the new CPMS requirements and explained how these are addressed in Intelliworks through the introduction of detailed workflow enhancements, additional tasks and guidance, as well as new letters and documents to complement the updates. Our enhanced workflows help Intelliworks users to navigate these updated requirements effectively, ensure compliance and deliver heightened standards, as part of their day-to-day practice. 

In light of renewed requests for CQS-related information, we’ve provided a summary of what we covered within these blogs, which we hope will prove helpful to conveyancing law firms seeking to ensure they remain CQS-compliant: 

 

  • Handling Conflicts of Interest 

Requirement 5.7 of the CQS CPMS states that firms must have a policy for handling conflicts of interest, including steps to be taken when acting on both sides of a transaction. Read the blog. 

 

  • AML Risk Assessments 

We enhanced the Intelliworks Purchase, New Build Purchase, Sale and Remortgage workflows to include a new, integrated process to allow users to carry out anti-money laundering (AML) risk assessments at key stages throughout the transaction. Find out more. 

 

  • Fraud Risk Assessments 

The Standards specify that CQS-accredited firms must have a policy to avoid involvement in property and mortgage fraud. We improved the Intelliworks Conveyancing workflows by adding new, comprehensive AML processes within the Purchase, New Build Purchase, Sale and Remortgage workflows. We further enhanced our established AML processes, to include updated fraud risk assessment features and checks, to assist our users to act in compliance with Requirement 5.13.  Find more information here. 

 

  • Written SDLT and LTT Calculations 

There is a requirement to provide clients with written SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) and LTT (Land Transaction Tax) calculations. Requirement 5.15 states that firms must have a “a procedure for ensuring that the practice provides a clear written SDLT calculation to the client at the outset”. Read more. 

 

  • Advice on Leasehold Property 

We implemented updates to our Purchase and New Build Purchase workflows to address new CPMS Requirement 5.16, which set out increased client reporting obligations for firms dealing with leasehold transactions. This update more widely responded to the continued focus on leasehold issues across the property industry. The CPMS require that clients should be provided with “clear and accessible written information [which] should be set out at the earliest possible opportunity in a single document”. Find the updates here. 

 

  • UK Finance Part 2 Requirements 

Improvements were made to our Purchase, New Build Purchase and Remortgage workflows to help users demonstrate compliance with Requirement 6.4, which states that firms must have a procedure to ensure that UK Finance Part 2 requirements are checked and satisfied.  Therefore, we implemented new features to assist our users to meet these new requirements. Find details of the improvements here. 

 

Download our market research report: Residential Conveyancing: What does the future hold for 2024?

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