The simple answer to this question is no. A licensed conveyancer is not a solicitor. In the UK, solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), whereas licensed conveyancers are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC).
However, both professions are involved in the legal transfer of property. So, what are the main differences between the two? One key difference is that licensed conveyancers can only work in England and Wales, whereas solicitors can practise anywhere in the UK.
Another difference is that solicitors can provide a wider range of legal services than licensed conveyancers. For example, licensed conveyancers cannot draft wills or represent clients in court.
Finally, licensed conveyancers tend to specialise in conveyancing work, whereas solicitors often provide a more general legal service. So, if you need help with the legal transfer of property, you may need to instruct a licensed conveyancer rather than a solicitor.
Also read: Stamp Duty UK: Everything You Need To Know
What Is a Solicitor?
A solicitor is a professional who provides legal advice and represents clients in court. In the United Kingdom, solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The role of a solicitor is to advise clients on their legal rights and obligations and to represent them in court if necessary.
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There are two types of solicitors in the UK: criminal solicitors and civil solicitors. Criminal solicitors represent clients who have been accused of a crime, and civil solicitors represent clients in non-criminal matters such as divorce, property disputes, and wills and probate.
Also read: How to Appoint a Conveyancing Solicitor?
Becoming a Solicitor
To become a solicitor in the UK, you must first complete a law degree or diploma from an approved institution. Alternatively, you can complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC) if you have already completed a non-law degree. You will then need to complete a period of training known as a traineeship with a law firm or organisation. Once you have completed your training, you will be eligible to take the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).
The SQE is made up of two parts: the Multiple Choice Test (MCT) and the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). The MCT assesses your legal knowledge, and the OSCE assesses your practical legal skills. After passing the SQE, you will be eligible to apply for a practising certificate from the SRA.
The Role of a Solicitor in 2024
As we move into 2024, the role of a solicitor is likely to change significantly due to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. At present, EU law still takes precedence over UK law in some areas, but this will no longer be the case after Brexit. This means that solicitors who specialise in EU law may need to retrain to keep up with changes to legislation. Additionally, with Britain no longer bound by EU rules on freedom of movement, immigration law is likely to become a more important area of practice for solicitors.
A solicitor is a professional who provides legal advice and represents clients in court. In 2024, the role of a solicitor is likely to change due to Brexit, with EU law no longer taking precedence over UK law. Solicitors who specialise in EU law may need to retrain, and immigration law is likely to become more important.
What Is a Licensed Conveyancer?
A licensed conveyancer is a specialist solicitor who deals with the legal aspects of buying and selling property. They are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), which sets and maintains standards for education, training and professional conduct.
In England and Wales, you do not need to use a licensed conveyancer to buy or sell your home, but many people choose to do so because they offer a more affordable service than a solicitor. Licensed conveyancers must hold Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) to protect their clients against any financial losses that may occur as a result of their professional negligence.
The role of the licensed conveyancer is to carry out all of the legal work associated with buying or selling a property. This includes tasks such as preparing and submitting the contract, dealing with stamp duty land tax, registering the transfer of ownership at the Land Registry and ensuring that the mortgage is paid off.
Licensed conveyancers can also act on behalf of buyers or sellers about remortgages, transfers of equity, lease extensions and applications for the first registration of unregistered land. In some cases, they may also be able to act for landlords and tenants about commercial leases.
Also read: Can You Change Conveyancing Solicitors?
The Scope of Practise for Solicitors and Licensed Conveyancers in 2024
In 2024, the scope of practice for solicitors and licensed conveyancers will differ slightly due to changes in legislation. Currently, both solicitors and licensed conveyancers can apply for a grant of probate on behalf of clients who have died intestate (without making a will). However, from April 2024 onwards, only solicitors will be able to apply for grants of probate. This means that if you’re interstate and need someone to help you sort out your affairs after you die, you’ll need to hire a solicitor rather than a licensed conveyancer.
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When it comes to the types of work that they can carry out, both solicitors and licensed conveyancers can act on your behalf about residential property transactions. This includes assisting with the purchase or sale of freehold or leasehold property, providing advice on Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), and dealing with registration at the Land Registry.
However, there are some key differences between solicitors and licensed conveyancers in terms of the work that they can carry out. For example:
- Solicitors are qualified to undertake certain contentious matters relating to property transactions (e.g. boundary disputes), whereas licensed conveyancers cannot;
- Licensed conveyancers can only act on behalf of one party to a transaction (i.e. either the buyer or seller), whereas solicitors can represent both parties;
- Only solicitors are authorised to undertake probate work; and
- Only solicitors can provide advice on tax matters relating to property transactions (e.g. capital gains tax).
Also read: Does Conveyancing Include Surveys?
So there you have it—a difference between solicitors and licensed conveyancers in the UK! If you’re buying or selling property in England or Wales, you’ll need to decide whether you want to use a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to help with the legal aspects of your transaction. Each professional has its scope of practice, so it’s important to choose someone qualified to do the job that you need them to do. We hope this blog post has helped explain the difference between solicitors and licensed conveyancers!