Removing Referral Fees Would Improve Standards and Maintain Competition

Anderson Rowntree has always been a strong advocate of eliminating referral fees or incentives between solicitors, conveyancers and introducers of work, such as larger estate agencies or panel managers that refer work into a network.

One of our conveyancing fee earners, Gareth Collins, who is based in our Storrington office, felt so strongly about this and the impact he has seen felt in the market, that he was compelled to write to the Law Society Gazette.

Issued to more than 100,000 legal professionals, it is the most widely read and influential newspaper in the industry.

We were therefore justifiably proud to see the letter in the latest print edition and email newsletter.


Here is a full transcript of the letter:

“I was very pleased to read the article regarding Hart Brown’s disdain for “Pet Solicitors”. I agree wholeheartedly and I have always found it incredible that such arrangements have not been properly scrutinised by the regulators or the media.

However, this extends to referral fees generally across the market, and not just new-builds (properties). If solicitors were recommended on the basis of service and reputation, rather than kickbacks or other internal arrangements, then clients across the country would only benefit as competition would be free to flourish.

Good solicitors would keep standards high to maintain referrals from reputable estate agents and brokers, and free competition would keep fees at reasonable levels for clients. Financial incentives and internal arrangements are a sad reflection on conveyancing standards across England and Wales. They could easily be outlawed as the artificial restrictions on the market that they pretend not to be.

It is about time the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA), Council of Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) or even the Legal Standards Board (LSB) did something about it. “

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