News Editorial

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Solicitors reap benefits while the public pays

Published 01/12/2012 | 17:00

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The decision by the Law Society to prohibit solicitors acting for two or more parties in the conveyancing of property has stirred the fury of the nation's farmers.

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Under new guidelines to be introduced from January 1 separate legal representation will be required for all individuals involved in the transfer of property. This will be the case even in the most straightforward and non-contested transfers of property from parent to child.

The cost implications are particularly severe for farmers – for whom it will now be far more expensive for families to transfer holdings or properties given that each family member will need separate legal representation.

Put simply, if parents wish to convey property to their four children, five sets of solicitors will be required and five sets of fees will be levied.

The Law Society cited abuses of the old regime as the primary motive for the new regulations. It argued that separate legal repres-entation would better protect the interests of all parties.

At its annual conference yesterday, the ICMSA expressed outrage, describing as "a manifest conflict of interest" the Law Society introducing regulations so beneficial to its own members.

It is also disconcerting that the Law Society would use the failings of its own members as justification for introducing regulations that will prove far more costly for the public.

The IMF has identified the legal profession as one of the 'sheltered sectors' in the economy, with artificially high charges that add to the cost of doing business.

The ICMSA is right to describe the new regulations as "disproportionate and absurdly expensive".

It is also right to call on the Government to intervene; or maybe the IMF should.

Irish Independent

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