HC Deb 01 May 1972 vol 836 cc25-6
31. Mr. Kaufman

asked the Attorney-General what progress has been made in the consultations by Her Majesty's Government concerning proposals relating to solicitors' conveyancing charges.

The Attorney-General

As a result of his discussions with the Law Society, my noble Friend the Lord Chancellor hopes that an order may be made in the near future which will have the effect of abolishing scale charges and minimum charges. This would mean that all conveyancing charges would be governed by the principle of what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances of the particular case. If the client were dissatisfied with a proposed charge, he would be able to obtain a certificate from the Law Society as to what a fair and reasonable charge would be, without prejudice to his right to have his solicitor's bill taxed by the court.

Mr. Kaufman

Is the Attorney-General aware that that statement, as far as it goes, is very welcome to those hon. Members on this side of the House who have been pressing the Government to take action on this important ingredient in the cost of buying a house? Will he accept, however, that we shall not be satisfied until the Government, having gone this far, fully implement the report of the National Board for Prices and Incomes?

The Attorney-General

As the answer indicated, the abolition of these scale charges is an important matter. I should have thought that it would be generally accepted by hon. Members on both sides of the House. We hope that the proposal will have the effect which we all want, that fees and costs involved in the purchase of a house should be proper, fair and reasonable.