It is noted that SSDT has made yet another finding of Professional Misconduct in respect of a failure to report to a lender in terms of the CML Handbook.
In terms of the Tribunal's decision, the CML Handbook conditions are 'there to prevent potential fraud'. It is not the case that that was the original primary purpose of the Handbook, but there can be no doubt that the Handbook (or alleged breaches thereof) is the current principal tool in actions against solicitors, whether by lenders direct or by the Society.
The resounding message to the Profession must now be 'to report, report, report'. There must be no question of a solicitor 'taking a view'. Unfortunately, as we also know, the lenders are no longer geared up to receive/respond to reports in anything like an acceptable timescale. The Profession, perhaps misguidedly, may previously have refrained from reporting certain matters for fear that the delay in a lender responding (in writing) might jeopardise the purchasing client's interests. Since, in any purchase/loan transaction, there must exist at least the potential for a 'reportable item', if follows that every purchase/loan transaction carries a serious potential for conflict, and should therefore be avoided.
Input from members on this difficult topic may be of assistance to the profession and to the long suffering public whom we try to serve and who only seek to buy and sell their homes.