Three trainee lawyers from HighStreetLawyer .com member firms give their views on the Government’s proposals to privatise the Land Registry.
“As a trainee solicitor the changes to the Land Registry do not give me as many sleepless nights as some of my colleagues. However, in my nine months as a trainee I can say the Land Registry is the most reliable of all the public sector organisations I have worked with
My first seat was in litigation. I found the work engaging but dealing with the Court system can really make you question why you bother. First off, even connecting to Court offices is a nightmare. You finally get through, to be told they are running three weeks in arrears and couldn’t possibly have dealt with your matter. Compare this to the Land Registry who, since my move to conveyancing, have been like the big brother I never had; always ready to listen, offer advice, receive my work and return it marked and approved efficiently (like I said, I never had a brother). Responses are normally received within a week. Quick responses equal happy clients – happy clients are the Holy Grail.
The Land Registry is integral to a property lawyer’s day to day work. Any sale, transfer, gift, charge all require notification or registration. Privatisation of the delivery function of the Land Registry – including registration of title – would be to smash up a jigsaw already in place. Any new system will take time to implement and learn, time that most practitioners do not have.”
Daniel Flowers is a trainee solicitor with Sheffield firm Lewis Francis Blackburn Bray
My experience of the Land Registry is wholly positive and, in my view, the intended benefits of privatisation, listed below, are not factors which need improvement.
Firstly, to provide a more efficient digital service. The recently introduced online registration is extremely efficient; responses are usually received within hours.
Secondly, reducing costs; these have already been reduced (mostly by half).
Thirdly, centralised access points. We have a team designated to our firm with direct points of contact and telephone numbers; this system works well so why change it?
The changes are likely to cause unnecessary upheaval whilst the recently streamlined service is re-established. We have built strong professional relationships with our team and the staff at the Registry, which we will be very sad to lose.
I believe that these unnecessary changes should have received more publicity, as many more people would be opposed to the privatisation of the Land Registry if they were aware of it and would sign the petition to save it as I have.
Carys Jones is a trainee solicitor with Watkins and Gunn Solicitors.
“The Land Registry is one of the most efficient public sector organisations a lawyer will interact with. Experts in their field, the Land Registry hold the ownership of land and property in England and Wales. Once registered, it is their duty to record all transfers and charges that affect it.
As a trainee, I am the primary contact when it comes to preparing applications and calling the Land Registry. Never have I had a problem that could not be solved. When I pick up the phone I am treated to a welcoming tone and friendly help, and am left with a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
I do not want the Land Registry to be sold to the highest bidder who will turn the organisation on its head. The Land Registry is not a product to be fattened up and sold at will. It’s OUR Land Registry, it the PUBLIC’S Land Registry. Property owners must all agree to sell a house, why should the Government sell something that we all have an interest in?”
Kirsty Baigent (ACILEx) is a trainee legal executive at Cornish firm A P Bassett Solicitors
HighStreetLawyer.com is a network of small law firms across England and Wales, providing outsourced support services and collaboration opportunities to its community of local solicitors practices. The Save the Land Registry website has more details on the proposed changes.