7 June, 2013
Risk Management Tools
There is now a broad range of different products on the market offering solutions to different types of risk. In the CLC’s view, the most effective way a practice can minimise risk in any area is to ensure that it has appropriate and proportionate processes and procedures to supervise and quality assure services which are being provided. These should be developed and managed internally.
The Council for Licensed Conveyancers has been asked about the relative merits of the many risk management tools that are currently available. While we expect a rigorous and systematic approach to risk management as a central tenet in protecting the client’s interest we do not endorse any particular product as being necessary in protecting the client’s interest nor can we comment on their relative merits.
The most important point to remember is that regulation by the CLC is robust and effective and, as a result, it is recognised that Licensed Conveyancers have a very good risk profile.
The CLC expects the practices it regulates to consider how they can mitigate risk to protect the interests of clients and to minimise claims made against them. It is the decision of the individual firm as to whether the risk management approach includes a commercially available risk management tool and which product is most appropriate to the firm, their business and their clients. There is a variety of commercial products which practices may choose to employ as part of the day to day management of workflow. These can be supported by other products that address specific transactional risks. It must be understood that none is able entirely to eradicate risk nor replace the individual’s responsibility to adhere to regulatory requirements.
Risk Management Tools and Disbursements
Disbursements are defined in the CLC’s glossary of terms as payments made to a third party on behalf of a client. Examples of disbursements are ‘stamp duty land tax; Land Registry fees; Local Authority and any other applicable search fees’. The use of certain risk management products that address specific transactional risks might also be characterised as disbursements. It is a matter for each practice to consider whether any payment made by the practice to a third party should be charged to the client on the basis that the cost has been incurred for the benefit of that client. If it wishes to charge a client for a disbursement, in accordance with the CLC’s Code and Guidance for Estimates and Terms of Engagement a practice must give proper notice to the client that the disbursement will be incurred.
The CLC’s policy on open and transparent charging means that it is for the conveyancer to advise their client on the necessity or otherwise of any particular check or use of a risk management tool or service and to be clear about the costs of those. As ever, the client interest is the guiding principle. The CLC would expect the practice to obtain the client’s specific informed consent for any disbursement to be incurred.