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Rob Gurney comments on “Conveyancing Log-Jam”

Rob Gurney, Managing Director, Ochresoft

I read an article on Estate Agent Today that warned of a ‘conveyancing log-jam’ in spite of faster sales.

I thought it would be useful to provide a view of what I’m seeing, as a provider of case management software to property lawyers and residential conveyancers.

There is no doubt that the conveyancing market is facing a difficult time. We are seeing record numbers of new instructions into our Intelliworks system, which is extremely positive, yet in contrast, the numbers of completions are subdued.

We know that law firms are facing a quandary; staff levels have not necessarily fully returned back to where they were before COVID due to furloughs and even redundancies, yet work volumes are creating pressure due to the recommencement of paused lockdown transactions, and the influx of new cases. With fewer staff managing more cases, there is an apparent gap emerging.

The good news is that the risk of aborted transactions is relatively low, as most home movers would rather wait longer than lose their deal completely. Lengthy delays in the conveyancing process will inevitably lead to customer dissatisfaction and an increase in telephone calls, which will only add to the drain on resources currently being experienced by the law firms.

With increasing pressure to move clients’ transactions through to completion ahead of the Stamp Duty break window, the likelihood of things being missed, or mistakes being made, runs the risk of increasing as the inevitable spike in completions eventually arrives.

This is where having a robust case management system can be very beneficial – to help the busy conveyancer through the process in an efficient but thorough manner; ensuring that no corners are cut or nothing is missed, whilst helping to avoid the potential exposure to future liability. It acts as an extra layer of security – an additional pair of eyes and ears on transactions – which can only give assurances at a time of high pressure.

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