Virgin Conveyancing Panel : Questions and Answers
from members of the public
It has come to my attention via my estate agent that my the law firm I have appointed is not on the Virgin Conveyancing panel. How can I be sure that this is correct?
You need to contact your conveyancer. It is reasonable to expect your lawyer to advise you what has happened. If they are not on the panel they could put your in touch with solicitors on the the approved Virgin solicitor panel.
I do hope you can help me. My conveyancer is advising me that he is legally obliged to order a Local Authority search stemming from the fact that the firm are on the Virgin solicitor panel. The searches cost a lot of money. Can this be avoided?
Unfortunately both you and your lawyer have little choice here. As you are taking a mortgage with Virgin your lawyer has to comply with their conditions as set out in their version of the CML Conveyancing Handbook. Your lawyer would have previously signed the Terms and Conditions of Virgin’s conveyancing panel appointment which obliges them to follow the CML Handbook requirements last updated Virgin. even if you were a cash buyer you would be ill advised not to carry out a local authority search.
Having used your search tool I can't find the lawyer I was hoping to instruct as being on the Virgin conveyancing panel. My lawyer has said that they are on the Virgin approved panel. How can I be sure given that they are not listed on your directory?
Not all firms are yet listed on our lender panel search tool which is still relatively new. Law firms are listing on a daily basis and it is probably the case that your lawyer is on the Virgin conveyancing lawyer and you should probably take them at their word. Please do feel free to suggest that they completing their listing on our site as it would only cost them £1 a month to list themselves as being on the Virgin solicitor panel.
The solicitors that just started acting on my purchase in Brighton has without warning closed. I only went with them because I needed a lawyer on the Virgin conveyancing panel and my preferred lawyer was not. I gave my credit card details for them to take £175 for searches. What do I do now?
Assuming that you have an Estate Agent in the equation then let them know straight away so that they can let the sellers know that there may be a slight delay due to the problems encountered. Most sellers would be sympathetic and urge their lawyer to send a new set of papers to your new solicitors. You should appoint new lawyers that are on the Virgin conveyancing panel and notify the lender. If you have paid over any money it will hopefully be held by the SRA as money in an intervened firm's bank accounts is transferred to the SRA. Then, the SRA or the intervention agent looks at the intervened firm's accounts to work out who the money belongs to. To claim your money you will need to contact the SRA. If the SRA cannot return money you are owed from the firm's bank accounts, or if they can only return part of the money, you can apply to the Compensation Fund for a grant. Your new solicitors may be able to assist
Is it the case that all conveyancing lawyers on the Virgin conveyancing panel work on a no sale no fee basis?
On the whole there are no requirements by lenders for their firms to operate on a no-sale-no-fee basis. There a small number of lenders who operate a very restricted conveyancing panel managed by a third party company (often termed in the industry as a ‘gatekeeper’). That third party may impose certain conditions such as non-sale-no fee on the panel firms. If you require this as a condition of your conveyancing then you should check with the conveyancing firm that this is part of their package
On the whole I have been dissatisfied with the level or service received from my lawyer. Is there a Virgin conveyancing panel complaints department or do I complain directly to the law firm?
Complaining to Virgin about their conveyancing panel is unlikely to yield much of a response. All solicitors and conveyancer must have a complaints procedure. You can get information from the solicitor’s or conveyancer’s website or ask at their office. They must tell you about it if you ask.
The Legal Ombudsman will make sure that your complaint is addressed by the solicitor. It can also advise you how to complain.
If a licensed conveyancer does not have a complaints procedure or will not tell you about it, contact the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), which will make sure that your complaint is properly dealt with by the conveyancer. Please see below for more information.
My offer was accepted on a property on the 5th February 2014, valuation was booked 3 days later, all came back fine. Property lawyer appointed, so the only thing outstanding was my mortgage offer. Having made daily calls to Virgin and chasing them on my offer I have now been told that my offer will not be issued unless the lawyer is on the Virgin conveyancing panel. Can the lender hold off the offer?
Mortgage companies tend not to not issue an offer until they have details of a lawyer on their panel. It can take a few weeks for Virgin to deal with your lawyers application to be on the Virgin conveyancing panel. There's no guarantee that your solicitors will be accepted.