Responding to the government’s consultation on the transfer of Land Registry operations to the private sector, the Law Society of England and Wales has stressed the need for continued state guarantee and safeguards to minimise the risk of corruption and fraud.

Law Society president Jonathan Smithers said: “The Law Society is not convinced, from the information supplied to date, that sufficiently robust safeguards will be imposed and successfully enforced if the Land Registry’s operations were sold off. Without solid assurances on these issues, the Land Registry should remain in public ownership.

“Government’s imperative to reduce the budget deficit should not drive the privatisation of the Land Registry; decisions about the sale must hinge on the long term ramifications and management of the significant risks that have been identified.”

The Law Society response further highlights the need to ensure that, if the transfer happens, any new owner is bound to continue to deliver the high standards of service from knowledgeable staff that users have come to expect.