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Society in showdown at the Abbey

31 March 2009

The Law Society of Scotland aims to meet with bosses at the Abbey Bank over the bank’s decision to strike 7,000 UK solicitors from its approved panels without consultation or warning.

The Society strongly criticised the move as reducing consumer choice and creating further difficulties for already hard hit solicitors’ firms in Scotland.

Following protests from the Society and the Law Society of England and Wales (LSEW), Abbey agreed to contact affected firms to advise them on potential reinstatement to the approved panels, if they could make a case for ongoing business with the bank.

Not enough

This failed to satisfy the Society. Convener of the conveyancing committee, Janette Wilson, said: “It’s vital that we meet with Abbey to express our concerns. We don’t think it is enough for the bank to reinstate solicitors only if they can prove their business case, and are planning to join LSEW at an upcoming meeting to discuss how this should be resolved.

“We want to ascertain the impact of this on Scottish conveyancers, who have already been hard hit by the serious downturn in the property market, and are urging our members to contact us if they have been affected.”

She added: “It’s also highly likely to impact on clients as the solicitor’s fee for putting the mortgage in place is normally included in the fee for the purchase. If additional solicitors have to be instructed, buyers will be charged another fee."

The Society is particularly concerned at the effect of the Abbey's actions on smaller firms in Scotland, which make up most firms in rural areas.


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