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Antony Antoniou – Luxury Property Expert

Navigating Challenges in the Conveyancing Landscape – Breaches of Undertakings and Beyond

Navigating Challenges in the Conveyancing Landscape – Breaches of Undertakings and Beyond


In the intricate realm of property transactions, where promises and commitments form the bedrock of deals, a concerning issue has come to light. The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), a regulatory authority, has raised an alarm regarding the increasing number of complaints related to breaches of undertakings by solicitors. These breaches have the potential to not only disrupt property sales but also jeopardize the entire transfer system.

**Unpacking Breaches of Undertakings**

Undertakings, which are essentially legally binding promises, serve as a linchpin in property transactions. They ensure that all parties involved uphold their commitments, including the timely transfer of funds and honoring pledges made during the transaction process. However, a disconcerting trend has emerged where conveyancers are failing to meet these obligations, leading to incomplete property sales and irate clients.

**The 2023 Risk Agenda: A Comprehensive Insight**

In the recently published 2023 Risk Agenda, a yearly report by the CLC, the spotlight is cast on the significant risks faced by the regulated community. These risks are identified through meticulous monitoring and inspection work conducted over the course of the year. The report goes a step further by providing valuable advice to conveyancing practices, helping them navigate compliance challenges and uphold ethical standards.

**A New Addition: Breaches of Undertakings**

This year’s edition introduces a new concern – breaches of undertakings. The CLC has labeled this issue as one of substantial significance. The entire property transfer system hinges on the faith that conveyancers will adhere to their undertakings. Without this adherence, the system could falter, causing ripple effects throughout the property market.

To tackle this pressing issue, the CLC has plans to host a webinar later in the year. While the regulatory body lacks the authority to enforce specific undertakings or directly compensate affected parties, breaches of undertakings can trigger disciplinary actions.

**A Broader Spectrum of Challenges**

Beyond breaches of undertakings, the Risk Agenda encompasses a range of other critical areas. These include anti-money laundering (AML) protocols, conflicts of interest, sanctions, the Accounts Code, and complaints handling. Of particular note, the report underscores the necessity for conveyancers to conduct comprehensive risk assessments tailored to specific matters. Often, these assessments are overlooked due to a perceived lack of risk in certain transactions.

**Sheila Kumar’s Insights: Challenges and Collaborative Solutions**

Sheila Kumar, the Chief Executive of the CLC, sheds light on the daunting position that conveyancers find themselves in as they combat economic crime. She emphasizes the substantial pressures these professionals face as they navigate intricate transactions while ensuring compliance with a plethora of regulations.

The CLC’s strategy to address these challenges hinges on assisted compliance – a collaborative approach aimed at identifying and mitigating risks before they escalate. This methodology has proved its effectiveness in resolving the majority of issues encountered by the CLC’s regulated community.

**Upholding Trust in a Complex Landscape**

In a field where trust and commitment are paramount, the challenges faced by conveyancers underscore the critical importance of upholding undertakings and maintaining the highest standards of professionalism. As the CLC endeavors to tackle these concerns head-on and provide comprehensive guidance, the landscape of property transfers stands to benefit from improvements that cater to all stakeholders involved.


In the ever-evolving landscape of property transactions, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) has unveiled a spotlight on a growing concern: breaches of undertakings. As legally binding promises that underpin these transactions, undertakings hold immense significance. The failure to uphold these commitments not only disrupts property sales but also threatens the stability of the entire transfer system.

The CLC’s 2023 Risk Agenda serves as a comprehensive guide through the challenges faced by the regulated community. By shedding light on risks and offering practical advice, the report aids conveyancing practices in maintaining compliance and ethical standards. The inclusion of breaches of undertakings in this year’s agenda highlights the gravity of the issue and the potential impact on the property market.

In a broader spectrum, the Risk Agenda delves into areas like anti-money laundering protocols, conflicts of interest, sanctions, the Accounts Code, and complaints handling. Amid these challenges, Sheila Kumar, the Chief Executive of the CLC, emphasizes the pressures on conveyancers who are on the frontlines of battling economic crime. The CLC’s collaborative approach, centered on assisted compliance, aims to identify and mitigate risks proactively, ensuring a smoother and more secure process.

As the CLC plans a webinar to address breaches of undertakings and escalates its efforts in resolving repeated or systemic breaches, the spotlight is on fostering trust and integrity within the conveyancing field. The challenges faced by conveyancers underscore the vital role they play in maintaining the integrity of property transactions.

In this intricate landscape, the path ahead involves not only addressing the immediate concerns highlighted in the Risk Agenda but also fostering a culture of unwavering commitment and professionalism. By doing so, the conveyancing community can pave the way for a more transparent, secure, and efficient property transfer system that benefits all stakeholders involved.

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