Our Practice Advice Service outlines whether a firm of solicitors can decline to provide transaction forms

We act on behalf of a buyer in a conveyancing transaction. We have been informed by the sellers’ solicitors that the sellers are executors with no knowledge of the property and they will not be providing transaction forms TA6 or TA10. The sellers’ solicitors state they are CQS accredited and are following the Law Society’s Conveyancing Protocol (‘the Protocol’). Can a firm of solicitors decline to provide transaction forms under the Protocol?

The Protocol requires firms who adopt it to use the latest transaction forms. The Protocol at general obligation (l) advises use of the most up-to-date version of the Code for Completion by Post, contract, forms, formulae and accompanying guidance published by the Law Society.

CQS accredited firms have committed themselves to comply with the Protocol. However, the Protocol is ‘not a checklist and its steps are not exhaustive’ and where it may become necessary to depart from it, it is acknowledged that CQS members will act ‘in the spirit of the Protocol’.

Normally, sellers would be advised to complete all sections in the TA Forms where they have actual knowledge, but of course cannot be compelled to complete these. The instruction to the seller on the TA6 Form states:

“If you do not know the answer to any question, you must say so. If you are unsure of the meaning of any questions or answers, please ask your solicitor. Completing this form is not mandatory, but omissions or delay in providing some information may delay the sale.”

The sellers’ solicitors must act in the best interests of their clients and help them with this as far as possible. It is necessary to supply any sellers’ information where it exists to the buyers’ solicitors to assist clients to sell the property. There may be exceptions however such as the nature of the transaction.

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While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

This article is compiled by the Law Society’s Practice Advice Service. Comments relating to the questions should be sent to practiceadvice@lawsociety.org.uk