by Tim O’Dwyer M.A., LL.B
The simple answer to the above question is no. But I guess many of us will, from time to time, act for both parties in conveyancing transactions. And, frankly, many of us will continue to do so until the governments in our various states and territories legislate against this practice to properly protect conveyancing consumers. Our professional and industry bodies may skirt around the edges with cautious codes of conduct, but sooner or later, the law makers will have to step in and outlaw what we collectively can’t or won’t.
In the meantime, our indemnity insurers insurers may, by various persuasive ways and means, more effectively bring about the end of this lucrative but risky practice long before it becomes illegal.
There will be many times when you should refuse referrals from sources such as real estate agents, other conveyancers and solicitors, and old clients because of actual or potential conflicts of interests. No solicitor (or conveyancer) can be independent if he or she is recommended in that way, particularly if the referral comes from the real estate agent.