Nationwide to require solicitor panel to be CQS accredited
The Nationwide has confirmed that as of summer 2015 all members of its solicitor panel will be required to be Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accredited.
Nationwide’s Andrew Baddeley-Chappell said
‘We see CQS as best practice and a valuable indication of firms’ commitment to providing a quality service to their clients. This is why we have decided to introduce this requirement for our panel members later this year.’
Law Society vice-president Jonathan Smithers said:
‘We are pleased that Nationwide has recognised CQS as a quality standard and wish to mandate it for firms on their panel. CQS provides a recognised quality standard for residential conveyancing practice and has created a trusted community helping to deter fraud and drive up standards within the conveyancing marketplace.
Whilst the move has been heartily welcomed by the Law Society, many practitioners have not been so enthusiastic. CQS is seen by many firms to be less than useful and simply a further expense in what is already a difficult area of practice. Many feel that it makes little or no difference in practice.
Commenting on the Law Society’s Gazette web site, one solicitor commented that it “emphasises how completely out of sync the Law Society is with the wishes of its members” whilst another stated that “CQS has nothing at all to do with undertaking conveyancing well – it has everything to do with being able to tick the right boxes”.
The move by the Nationwide is seen by many as yet another example of solicitors being put at a disadvantage when compared with Licensed Conveyancers. The Council for Licensed Conveyancers have issued a statement which said:
The recent announcement regarding the requirement for solicitors to be CQS accredited to be on the Nationwide panel does not in any way affect the status of Licensed Conveyancers on that panel.
We have discussed this with Nationwide and hope that this clarification from them clears up any confusion caused by the announcement.