FDC Law experts’ guide to the pre-contract stage of conveyancing

Conveyancing is a type of legal process whereby the ownership of property, either residential or commercial, is transferred between the seller and the buyer. According to solicitors from FDC Law, in England and Wales, there are both unregistered and registered systems of conveyancing.

With the unregistered system, it is the responsibility of the seller to show the person buying their property the necessary documentary evidence, which proves that they currently own the property. With the registered system, on the other hand, a register of the property is maintained by the government, and a land transfer then takes place when the Land Registry is notified of a change in ownership.

There are, FDC Law explains, three stages to a standard conveyancing transaction. These are the pre-contract stage, which tends to be the most time-consuming, as it involves the majority of the legal work, the pre-completion stage and the post-completion stage. Here, we take a closer look at the first stage. FDC Law

Firstly, the seller and the buyer need to instruct their solicitors to act on their behalf. Then the seller’s solicitor will be tasked with the preparation of the buyer’s pre-contact package, which will include documentary evidence which proves the seller holds the legal title to the property, and a draft of the contract. This package must then be checked by the buyer’s solicitor, and at this point they can raise any queries they may have.

Pre-contract searches will need to be carried out by the buyer’s solicitor, according to FDC Law. These searches are mostly with public bodies (such as for instance, the local authority), and will ensure that the buyer has all of the information they need about the property they intend to purchase. The buyer then confirms that they are able to proceed with the purchase financially – this normally consists of securing an offer of finance.

Once the amendments to the contract have been negotiated and the relevant checks completed, FDC Law says, the solicitor representing the buyer will return the contract draft to the seller, after which two copies of the legal document are printed, with the buyer signing one, and the seller signing the other.

FDC Law explains the way in which the courts make decisions during care proceedings

When it comes to care proceedings, FDC Law experts say that the court is only able to issue a Supervision or Care Order if it is certain that the ‘threshold criteria’ have been met. The term ‘threshold criteria’ refers to when a child has already been seriously harmed whilst living with their parents or guardian, or the courts believe that he or she is at risk of being seriously harmed in the near future, and this harm is because the parent or guardian has not provided a reasonable amount of care than a parent should.

In these circumstances, FDC Law says that ‘harm’ can related to a child not only being ill-treated themselves, but also witnessing the ill-treatment of someone else; in other words, even if they are not being harmed themselves, they may be considered to be at risk if they frequently see their parents hurting one another, or other relatives.

If it is found by the court that this threshold criteria has been met, then FDC Law experts say that it may decide to issue an order, regardless of whether the parents of the child have been trying their best, as ultimately, they are not providing the right level of care for their child. According to FDC Law, the court will only make such an order if it is convinced that this will help; in most instances, the court will consider whether the harm, or the risk of harm is likely to occur in the future, and whether the parents are willing to deal with the council’s concerns regarding the welfare of their child. FDC Law

If an order is to be made, the court will decide what type of order will need to be issued, based on the ‘welfare principle’, along with what is called a ‘welfare checklist’. The welfare principle, FDC Law says, is a document which states the courts first priority must be the child’s welfare, and the checklist includes things such as the feelings and wishes of the child, their gender and age, and the risk of harm. The order must be the absolute minimum required so as to provide the child with the necessary protection.