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Ready to buy a new home? Failing to check that a lawyer is on the FirstDirect list of approved solicitors can put your transaction at risk of delay or failure.

Find an Approved Solicitor on the First Direct Conveyancing Panel

FAQs for the First Direct Solicitor Panel

I would like to know the reason why all property lawyers are not on the First Direct Conveyancing panel?
First Direct and other lenders tend to imposes restrictions either the type or the number of conveyancing firms on their approved list of lawyers. Typical examples of such restriction(s) being that a firm must have two or more partners. In addition to restricting the type of firm, some have decided to limit the number of firms they use to represent them. You should note that First Direct have no responsibility for the quality of advice provided by any member of First Direct Conveyancer Panel. Mortgage fraud was a key driver in the rationalisation of conveyancing panels a few years ago and whilst there are differing views about the extent of solicitor involvement in some of that fraud. Statistics from the Land Registry reveal that thousands of law firms only carry out one or two conveyances a year. Those supporting conveyancing panel cuts ask why law firms should have the right to be on a Lender panel when clearly, Conveyancing is not their speciality? To put it another way; would you want a conveyancing solicitor to represent you if you were charged with a crime; probably not.
Our lawyer has discovered a legal deficiency with the lease for the flat we are purchasing. The other side have offered defective title insurance as a solution. We are content with insurance and will pay for it. Our solicitor says that as he is on the First Direct conveyancing panel he must be satisfied that the lender is happy with this solution. Who is the client here, us or First Direct?
The short answer to your last question is that, notwithstanding the potential for a conflict of interest, you and First Direct are the client. A precondition to being on the First Direct approved panel is to comply with the CML Handbook requirements (last updated for this lender on First Direct). The CML Handbook conditions require your lawyer to disclose issues such as defects will the lease so that First Direct can be afforded the opportunity to check with their valuer as to the extent that the value of the property is affected . Should you refuse to allow your lawyer to make the appropriate notification then your lawyer will have no choice but to discontinue acting for you.
I note that you have a post code search directory identifying solicitors on the First Direct conveyancing panel. Do firms pay you a referral fee if I instruct them for my own conveyancing?
We are a listing service only for law firms wishing to communicate if they are on the First Direct conveyancing panel or other lender panels. We do not charge referral fees to the any conveyancer that you subsequently appoint.
My grandmother passed away 10 months ago and as sole heir and executor was left the property. The house had a small mortgage left on it of around £4500. I want to transfer the title deeds into my name whilst I re-mortgage to First Direct , pay off the mortgage etc. Is this allowed?
If you intend to re-mortgage then First Direct will insist on your using a conveyancer on the First Direct conveyancing panel. Here is link to the Land Registry online guidance around what to do when a property owner dies. This will help you to understand the registration process behind changing the details re the registered title. in your case it would appear that you are effectively purchasing the property from the estate. Your First Direct conveyancing panel solicitor pays the new mortgage money into the estate, the estate pays off the old mortgage, the charge is released and you become the owner and the First Direct mortgage is registered as a charge at the Land Registry.
Can you point me to a directory of First Direct panel solicitors on the CML Handbook Website?
No. There is no such tool on the Council of Mortgage Lenders or Building Society Association websites. Very few lenders make their panel listings available online.
For 5 years I had a mortgage with First Direct. My godfather retired last week and wants to pay off the mortgage left on the property. After First Direct is paid, I want to transfer the property to my mother's name; How long will it roughly take? Do we need two separate solicitors on the First Direct conveyancing panel? I do not intend to live at the property once the First Direct mortgage is discharged.
You will need a solicitor but they need not be on the First Direct conveyancing panel. You will need a solicitor to draw up the transfer and to deal with the Land Registry formalities. The only thing you need to consider is that by selling at an undervalue so ask your lawyer about the implications. There could be an inheritance tax issue if you die within 7 years of this. There's no capital gains tax for you as it is your main residence.
Can I register a complaint to First Direct about the lawyers being on the First Direct conveyancing panel?
Complaining to First Direct about their conveyancing panel is unlikely to yield much of a response. Every solicitor firm and conveyancer must have a complaints procedure. You can get information from the solicitor’s or conveyancer’s website or ask at their office. They must tell you about it if you ask.

The Legal Ombudsman will make sure that your complaint is addressed by the solicitor. It can also advise you how to complain.

If a licensed conveyancer does not have a complaints procedure or will not tell you about it, contact the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), which will make sure that your complaint is properly dealt with by the conveyancer. Please see below for more information.