2015 proved to be an eventful year for the conveyancing market, despite overall growth being lower than in previous years. Even with a lower growth, most businesses saw a rise in the number of transactions they dealt with due to the number of firms that left the market. With fewer firms competing for business, those that remain saw an effective increase in their work; however, this is now plateauing as new business becomes scarcer. As a consequence, remaining conveyancing firms need to be more competitive, which is good for the consumer and may even prove beneficial to the conveyancing firms themselves.
Although the Law Society may have had the right idea when it attempted to introduce a means of simplifying and organising the conveyancing market, the Veyo project ultimately failed and was wrapped up in 2015. The market is still populated by thousands of firms and many solicitors complained that their views were not listened to when the project first got underway.
The attempt to streamline the conveyancing process served to highlight how complex transactions actually are and how much input is needed from across the industry for a system to be effective. Such a system needs to be subject to wide consultation so that it can serve diverse needs, whether these needs are from a private conveyancing firm in the London suburbs or from commercial conveyancing in Swansea.
A privatised Land Registry?
Looking ahead, the idea that the Land Registry should be privatised to make it more effective has yet again reared its head. It has been argued that it is working well already – making a profit even – and should be left well alone; however, the government seems determined to push ahead with a consultation for this unpopular move. There are fears that privatisation could undermine the government department’s impartiality, while integrity could be lost. Companies such as http://daviesphillips.co.uk/conveyancing/commercial will have an opinion on this matter, but just how much say individual firms will have in the consultation process is debatable.
It is clear that for any reform of the conveyancing process to be effective, opinion needs to be sought from the very people who have the expert knowledge – the solicitors who bear the brunt of the work.