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Can Buyers and Sellers use the Same Solicitor?

Martha Lott

Written by

28th Oct 2022 (Last updated on 8th Nov 2022) 3 minute read

A buyer and seller can use the same solicitor if there is no conflict of interest and strict criteria is met. Although it’s possible to use the same solicitor, it comes with risks that make it less common to do.

In this guide, we’ll explore what criteria needs to be met to use the same solicitor, when it can benefit you and the risks that come with buyers and sellers using the same conveyancer.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Can a Solicitor Act for Both the Buyer and Seller?
  2. What is a Conflict of Interest?
  3. What is the Criteria for Using the Same Solicitor?
  4. What are the Benefits of Using the Same Solicitor?
  5. Can I use the Same Solicitor if I’m Buying and Selling?
  6. How Can Compare My Move Help?
  7. How to Find a Solicitor

Can a Solicitor Act for Both the Buyer and Seller?

Yes, a conveyancer can act for both buyer and seller if all criteria is met. As the SRA advises against clients sharing the same solicitor, it’s not very common as there’s often a risk of conflict of interest.

What is a Conflict of Interest?

A conflict of interest is where two or more parties disagree on outcomes and is often what stops buyers and sellers from using the same solicitor.

The main risk of using the same solicitor is ‘client conflict’. This means the solicitor is unable to provide full legal advice to one party without it being detrimental to the other.

There are two types of conflict of interest:

  • Client Conflict - When the best interest of the buyer and seller clash or there’s a significant risk that they will.
  • Own Interest Conflict - When the conveyancer’s duty to act in the best interest of the buyer or seller conflicts with their own interests.

What is the Criteria for Using the Same Solicitor?

If there is no potential conflict of interest, strict criteria must be met for a solicitor to act for both parties:

  • Buyer and seller are made aware of the risks
  • Buyer and seller have given written consent
  • Buyer and seller have a substantially common interest
  • Buyer and seller are competing for the same objective
  • The solicitor has implemented effective safeguards to protect both buyer's and seller’s confidential information
  • The solicitor is satisfied it is reasonable to act for both buyer and seller.

The full criteria can be found in the SRA’s code of conduct.

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What are the Benefits of Using the Same Solicitor?

If all criteria is met, it can be beneficial for a solicitor to act for both buyer and seller.

Benefits of using the same solicitor:

  • Reduces the number of parties involved - As you’ll only be working with one solicitor, it reduces the number of people involved with the transaction.
  • Saves time and money - As the solicitor will be using the same systems, timetables, and processes, it’ll save time and money by not liaising with other parties.
  • Fewer negotiations are needed - If both parties share interests, there should be fewer negotiations required. This could be as little as agreeing on the same completion date.

Can I use the Same Solicitor if I’m Buying and Selling?

Yes, you can use the same solicitor if you’re buying and selling at the same time. As you’ll be the sole party for the solicitor, there isn't a conflict of interest. Using the same solicitor for a sale and purchase helps to keep things in the same place.

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How Can Compare My Move Help?

If you’re buying and selling property at the same time, we have a network of licensed conveyancers and solicitors who can help with both. We can connect you with up to 5 regulated and trusted solicitors and conveyancers to help you save time, money and stress.

How to Find a Solicitor

You should only ever hire a solicitor or conveyancer that are regulated by the following:

  • Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC)
  • Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
  • Law Society Scotland (LSS)
  • Law Society Northern Ireland (LSNI)
  • Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx)

Other ways to find a solicitor:

  • Use a comparison website like Compare My Move
  • Ask family and friends for recommendations
  • Look at company reviews

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Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having guest authored for many property websites, Martha now researches and writes articles for everything moving house related, from remortgages to conveyancing costs.

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