Acting for lender and borrower
Acting for lender and borrower

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Acting for lender and borrower
  • Solicitors Regulation Authority Code of Conduct 2011
  • Conflict of interest—Outcome 3.5
  • Indicative Behaviour 3.7 (IB 3.7)
  • Residential or commercial property?
  • Duties to each client

Solicitors Regulation Authority Code of Conduct 2011

In residential conveyancing the buyer's conveyancer often will also be instructed by the lender to act for the lender in connection with the grant of a mortgage for the purchase. There is no special exception in the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Handbook (the Handbook) that allows firms to act for buyer and lender. It is for the conveyancer to decide whether they can comply with the Handbook (which contains the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Code of Conduct (the Code)). The Code came into force on 6 October 2011 and replaced the Solicitors' Code of Conduct 2007. The Code implemented outcomes-focused regulation (OFR), which is a departure from the rules-based approach of (and relative certainty offered by) the Solicitors' Code of Conduct 2007.

The Handbook specifies ten all-pervasive 'Principles', chief among which is Principle 4:

'you must act in the best interests of each client'

The Code sets out 'Outcomes', which are mandatory, and 'Indicative Behaviours', which are intended to illustrate compliance. The Code explains that 'the Indicative Behaviours are not exhaustive: the Outcomes can be achieved in other ways'. This can lead to uncertainty as to whether a proposed transaction complies with the Code.

Note that the Code is revised fairly often (version 16 was published on 1 April 2016) and therefore it is important to check the