The Court of Appeal's Judgement in the fraud case of Davisons, published in B&C Distributor last week, shows a return to common-sense and is vindication that the Courts will not set an impossibly high bar for conveyancers to jump over.
The Court clearly indicated in this matter that there is only so much that a conveyancer can be asked to do to verify the conveyancer on the other side, and provided the conveyancer does this then they will not be found responsible.
All conveyancers recognise that they have to carry out searches against the other conveyancers in transactions to prevent fraud.
This is not a new duty but one imposed by existing codes of conduct and the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ requirements.
What was tested in this case was how high the burden of this responsibility is set and it is very reassuring for the Courts to recognise that no reasonable firm of conveyancers would have done any more than Davisons, who in the main relied on information about the firm on the Solicitors Regulatory Authority website.