The Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) bills itself as providing “a recognised quality standard for residential conveyancing practices” with the achievement of membership giving member firms a higher level of credibility with regulators, lenders, insurers and those all important consumers.
With this in mind I got to wondering why the numbers seem so low?
At the end of September around 1,300 firms had applied for CQS accreditation. Based on the Land Registry data for September there are in excess of 4,700 firms submitting Land Registry applications, which means that only 27 per cent of these firms have applied for CQS.
Around 650 of the firms that have applied are now accredited, just 13 per cent of firms, as per the Land Registry data.
The split of accredited firms is:-
– 50 partner firms — 1
– 10-50 partner firms — 55 (8 per cent)
– 5-10 partner firms — 149 (23 per cent)
– 3/4 partner firms — 155 (24 per cent)
– 2 partner firms — 187 (28 per cent)
– Sole practitioners — 112 (17 per cent)
We are all aware that the CQS application form is a lengthy one and that cost could also be prohibitive for some firms, especially those with more partners, but am I the only one left wondering if firms are really behind the CQS?
At the recent Law Society conference Rob Hailstone of The Bold Group
, in light of comments made by one of his member firms, asked if CQS was being policed. The answer he received was no but that it was hoped that fellow CQS member firms would inform the Law Society if any firm was found to be breaching the protocol.
My first question then is this — If, as Michael Coogan reportedly says, the CQS is a “last chance saloon” for conveyancing solicitors where are the applications of the remaining 73 per cent of conveyancing solicitors?
Also, if there is a robust and strict application process why, when there are breaches of the protocol, do fellow CQS member firms have to resort to “snitching” on other member firms?
Would you report a fellow CQS member for a breach of protocol?
With grateful thanks to Rob Hailstone for letting me use the CQS figures following his attendance at the Law Society conference.
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