Using a CLC Lawyer
What is a CLC Lawyer?
There are currently two kinds of CLC Lawyers, both are qualified, professional specialists in property law:
- Licensed Conveyancers specialise in the legalities surrounding buying and selling property in England and Wales.
- Probate Practitioners undertake the legal administration of a deceased person's estate.
CLC Lawyers are also Commissioners for Oaths, which means they have legal authority to administer and witness official documents e.g. affidavits to swear that a statement is the truth. They can sign your passport photo as well.
What to expect from your Licensed Conveyancer?
Licensed Conveyancers deal with the transfer of a the legal title of a property from one person to another.
It is vital to communicate with your Licensed Conveyancer from the very beginning making sure you don’t get any unexpected surprises along the way. If your Conveyancer is long distance and you are not able to communicate in person, you are still able to converse effectively by email or telephone. It is important you and your Conveyancer establish a means of communcation from the beginning.
If using a Licensed Conveyancer regulated by the CLC, you should:
- Receive an honest and lawful service.
- Be provided with a high standard of legal services.
- Have your matters dealt with using care, skill and diligence.
- Receive a high standard of service due to your lawyer’s arrangements, resources, procedures, skills and commitment.• Be provided with a service which is accessible and responsive to your individual needs.
- Not feel discriminated against, victimised or harassed.
- Not receive a service which is below the standard you could expect, however, if you do your lawyer accepts responsibility for this and provides you with any appropriate redress.
- Have your individual needs taken into account should you make a complaint.
- Receive a swift, impartial and comprehensive service if making a complaint.
How much will it cost?
The amount you are charged may vary considerably from lawyer to lawyer. This makes it all the more important that you find this out when you first instruct a lawyer. You should also consider asking two or more different firms to give you details of their charges and how they are calculated before making that decision.
The legal costs you will need to pay to a CLC Practice for carrying out work for you can be broken down to:
- the fees the CLC Practice charges (‘fees’). This is the charge the CLC Practice makes for acting on your behalf. The amount of the fee charged may vary depending on how complicated the matter is and/or how long it takes the CLC Practice to deal with it;
- the charges the CLC Practice incurs and pays on your behalf with other parties (sometimes called ‘disbursements’). The amount of these charges is generally out of the direct control of the CLC Practice, and is unlikely to change a great deal between different transactions. Examples of disbursements are the land registration fee, Local Authority searches and environmental searches.
Buying and selling houses
Charges for conveyancing service are likely to be calculated at:
- a standard fee; or
- an hourly rate (ie the time spent on the particular matter).
A practice will generally charge a standard fee where they can be reasonably confident at the outset about the amount of work likely to be involved and the level of skill required. If additional work becomes necessary during the transaction your lawyer must advise you in writing of any additional charges for such work as soon as it becomes apparent. Some practices may agree not to charge a fee if a transaction does not go ahead, others will charge a proportion of the agreed fee, depending on the stage at which the transaction fails. You will, in either case, still be responsible for any costs the practice has had to pay to others (for example the cost of obtaining a search on the property).
It may be helpful for you to ask two or three practices to give you an estimate. You should also ask how difficult they think the work will be, how long it will take, how often and in what way they will contact you, and who will be carrying out the work. For example, buying a leasehold property may be more expensive than buying a freehold property of the same price.
The costs charged in a probate matter may be calculated in a number of different ways:
- a fixed fee
- a fixed fee for carrying out different pieces of work
- an hourly rate
- a rate determined by the value of the estate (calculated at the date of death)
- a combination of one or more of (a) to (d).