Q&As

In light of the Purrunsing v A'Court & Co case, a number of buyer's solicitors are now asking for confirmation that the seller’s solicitors have carried out the necessary checks to confirm that the seller client is the registered owner or are asking the seller’s solicitors to confirm they have undertaken the necessary AML checks. Is this interpretation of the case correct?

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Produced in partnership with David Sawtell of 39 Essex Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 23/09/2016

The following Practice Compliance Q&A produced in partnership with David Sawtell of 39 Essex Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • In light of the Purrunsing v A'Court & Co case, a number of buyer's solicitors are now asking for confirmation that the seller’s solicitors have carried out the necessary checks to confirm that the seller client is the registered owner or are asking the seller’s solicitors to confirm they have undertaken the necessary AML checks. Is this interpretation of the case correct?
  • The facts of Purrunsing
  • Obligation to consider the risk of fraud
  • What does Purrunsing tell us?

Purrunsing v A’Court & Co was an alarming case for conveyancers when it came out in April 2016. Both the buyer’s and the seller’s conveyancers were found liable (through different legal remedies) for a failure to adequately explore the seller’s entitlement to sell a property. It highlights the importance for all parties to consider the risk of fraud in a conveyance and to tailor their checks and advice accordingly.

The case itself did not need to consider whether it was necessary to ask questions about a seller’s entitlement to sell. A cautious conveyancer would, however, take away from the case the lesson that some transactions require more due diligence than others.

The facts of Purrunsing

The case itself concerned a fraud by an individual pretending to be the registered owner of a property. The intending purchaser (P) paid his money to his conveyancer (HOC), who paid this money on to the fraudster’s solicitor (A’Court), who in turn paid it to the fraudster who then disappeared.

The property itself was high value and was not encumbered by a charge.

Both HOC and A’Court were in breach of trust by paying over the money. They both unsuccessfully applied for relief under section 61 of the Law of Property Act 1925 (LPA 1925). HOC was also found liable in contrac

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