Lawyers and Conveyancers Bill

The Justice & Electoral Select Committee's report on the Lawyers and Conveyancers Bill recommends an amendment that would expressly prohibit lawyers and conveyancers from charging a commission when acting as agents for their clients selling real estate or a business.

This is because lawyers are currently able to sell real estate and businesses on behalf of their clients and charge for the costs they incur regardless of whether or not the property sells, but are prohibited from being remunerated by charging a commission or success fee. The Bill as drafted, would have removed this prohibition, and the Select Committee has recommended in favour of retaining the status quo.

The main reason for this recommendation is that it is felt that since the commissions earned by a lawyer for the sale of the property could exceed the conveyancing fee for that transaction it could compromise the independence of the lawyer's advice to the client. A clash of fiduciary obligations and the obligation to give professional advice could therefore arise.


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