I am in the process of buying a property in the UK, and using a solicitors for the conveyancing. Due to this, I am placing a great amount of trust in the solicitors and effectively assuming that they have checked over the contract sufficiently to protect me. However, what if it turns out that the solicitors have not done a very good job, and have missed something which in the future affects me negatively?

As a simple but perhaps naive hypothetical example, suppose there is an unusual clause in the contract which says that I must pay the vendor some arbitrary fee every year. And suppose that my solicitors do not notice this and do not inform me of it. Then when the vendor starts asking me to pay this fee, and I realise that it was on the original contract after all, am I able to claim that my solicitors did not do their job properly, and hence avoid paying this fee, or perhaps sue my solicitors?

In summary: The solicitors exist to ensure that the vendor is not doing anything dodgy, but what guarantee is in place to ensure that my solicitors are doing their job properly?

Yes, you could say "It is your responsibility", but then what is the point of using a solicitor anyway if you have to rigorously check everything they have done?

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    Who told you you need a solicitor to do your conveyancing ? You can do it yourself, if you aren't so sure about your solicitor and have the time. – DumbCoder Feb 17 '16 at 10:51
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    @DumbCoder Although that does mean you now have no one to sue, and surely there's no guarantee you'll do a better job than the average solicitor, even though I have no doubt most people could do better than a rubbish one. At least if you have a solicitor, assuming they are legal, you can sue them and they will have professional insurance so you can't lose out if they have nothing. – Michael Feb 17 '16 at 11:17
  • @Michael Don't assume having a solicitor is fool proof. He can vanish with your money. Then whom do you sue ? I believe there was a case like this in London. – DumbCoder Feb 17 '16 at 13:02
  • @DumbCoder I'm definitely no expert, so happy to defer, but aren't solicitors obliged by law to carry professional indemnity insurance to cover claims against them, even (for some period at least) after they've closed down, and there's also the SRA compensation fund. Of course all this depends on one making sure ones solicitor isn't bogus; is SRA registered. – Michael Feb 17 '16 at 13:16
  • Given that buying a property is probably the biggest single purchase most people ever make, it would be worth reading the contract yourself, and maybe asking for a draft version in advance. For comparison, the contract on our current home was only 2 pages long; the one before that was 2.5 pages. – Steve Melnikoff Feb 17 '16 at 16:41

The regulatory body for solicitors in England and Wales is the Law Society - they have a nice website which includes information on how to complain about a solicitor. Ultimately, you can take action against a solicitor for malpractice - though of course you would probably want to engage another solicitor for this action, and they might also be no good...

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