Spotlight on…dealing with search results

Lawyer Checker is a database with historic footprints of transactional conveyancing. It therefore offers users information on the transactional history of a conveyancing firm’s client account number.

This method is unique to LC and the only real way to ensure your client’s money is going to a bona fide recipient firm client account.

Passionate about protecting client money, we hope that this week’s spotlight ensures both present and future users of LC and its AES search (Account and Entity Screen) are clear on how exactly to deal with the search results that you receive from us.

The LC database determines whether the account you searched against has a track record of Frequent, Infrequent or Unknown usage within conveyancing.

An immediate response will be sent to you containing:

1. The database result: Frequent, Infrequent or Unknown

2. When we last saw the details being used, if we recognise the details

3. Further checks for you to carry out, if there is a potential risk (Infrequent or Unknown result)

If there is a potential risk (Infrequent or Unknown result), our team will conduct real- time checks on over ten databases and send back a full report on the entity associated with the account within four working hours (9am-5pm, Monday – Friday)

The received outcome will be easily identified by way of a Red, Amber or Green ‘Traffic Light’ indicator at the top of each search outcome. Each rating will be indicative of that individual search; demonstrating the strength of the track record that Lawyer Checker has.

How ought you treat an Infrequent result received from Lawyer Checker search?

Approximately 85% of results will come back as Frequent. Therefore, if a result is Infrequent or Unknown, it may present a potential risk and here at LC we suggest that you seek to satisfy yourself that you are comfortable with sending money to this account.

LC suggested approach:

1. Consider the information we have provided to you in conjunction with other information you have on file. Note that there may be a legitimate reason why the account has presented a potential risk; such as incorrect details, ie where someone has typed the details in through error and that is all it is, or it may require further investigation.

Typical responses – guide on those we expect to see:

INFREQUENT response – potential reasons:

A dormant account – the firm has set up a new account and the Replies to Requistions have not been changed by the recipient firm. The change in account details may relate to a recent merger for example or a regulatory change. You will be informed in your further research email if it has been found through searching that one of these instances have been revealed.

TOP TIP: Look at the dates that note when we have seen the account if the research received informs you that we have details of the entity with a different account.

This may be a low transactional Conveyancer. Check the further research email for the number of transactions using a Land Registry account for this firm.

It may be that there has been untoward activity on this account.

UNKNOWN response – potential reasons:

  • The account details may be mistaken. Look out for a note from our team as it may be that we have details of the same firm with similar account details. We may tell you in an instance like this that the result could possibly be due to a typographical error.
  • It may be that the firm is a commercial one and it does not conduct too much in the way of residential conveyancing.
  • This could be a new firm. Check the date of entry onto Companies house and Data Protection registers.
  • The firm may have recently changed their bank account for a legitimate reason such as merging or just finding a better deal with another bank. Look out for a note from our team that may say that we have details of the same firm with different account details that have been used recently.
  • There may untoward activity on this account.

2. If you feel that the information you have still presents a risk, we suggest that you contact the COLP/COFA at that firm and ask them to confirm their bank details.

3. If you are still not comfortable sending money to the other side, you may wish to consider discussing the risk with your clients and discharging the mortgage directly or aborting the transaction.

Any result provided by the LC search team should only form part of your decision making process and should not be considered as definitive. LC does not seek to make assumptions on the validity of firms.

Please also note that our service only covers entities operating in England and Wales.

Today's Conveyancer