Property Conveyancing – Conflicts of Interest
Can a Registered Conveyancing Practitioner act for both a Vendor and Purchaser in the same Property Conveyancing transaction?
A Conflict of Interest is like an Argument or Disagreement and can be perceived or real.
A simple example of a Conflict of Interest would be a Purchaser failing to pay a deposit by the due date as stipulated in the Agreement for Sale and Purchase. In this situation the Conveyancer would be required to immediately notify the Vendor of breach and take instructions – Conflict.
Under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 Conveyancing Practitioners client care and code of conduct.
A Conveyancing Practitioner must not act for more than one party where there is a risk they may not be able to discharge their obligations owing to 1 more clients. It further goes on to state that a Conveyancing Practitioner may act for more than 1 more so long as there is prior written informed consent from all parties.
A further risk of acting for both parties is what is the Conveyancing Practitioner terms and their firms covered for under their Professional Indemnity Insurance and Fidelity Insurance?
It is no uncommon for Conveyancing Practitioners and Solicitors to have other member of their firm to act for the other party in a dealing.
I am an advocate that to avoid any and all potential of Conflicts of Interest and to be able to act in the appointed Clients best interest to represent 1 party in a transaction.
Some may disagree, but the legal liability put on us in this Profession today as opposed to previous times may out way the risk of any claim.
Some may say that it is easy to act for both parties in a Conveyancing Transaction as you have control over the process from both sides, and your Real Estate Agent may recommend the same Conveyancing firm to you. Or may nominate the same Conveyancing Firm without the prior knowledge of the Vendor and Purchaser.
Once you have received a full copy of the Sales and Purchase Agreement simply check on the back to see if the same Conveyancing firm is acting for both parties and if so seek independent legal representation.