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19th April 2023

Impact of climate change on solicitors: are conveyancers now deemed climate change experts?

Impact of climate change on solicitors: are conveyancers now deemed climate change experts?
Scott Battram
Scott Battram
Senior Associate

It is with no surprise that The Law Society of England and Wales has confirmed conveyancing solicitors’ overall duty to advise on climate legal risks when acting in transactions. 

Simply, as the world becomes increasingly aware of the risks posed by climate change, there is a growing need for professionals in various fields to address the potential impacts on their respective areas of expertise. One such area is the real estate industry, where the risks associated with physical climate change pose a significant challenge for conveyancers and their clients. 

However I have been trained and taught 'not to dabble' and I know my Risk Team sleep easy at night knowing that I do not dabble, so it is with no shock that The Law Society has caveated their statement with:

"Solicitors should not advise on climate change physical risks where it is outside their knowledge or qualification". 

So with that - like most professionals - you are only as good as your team, and it is that which can help clients with the worries of any potential impact of climate change. 

Obtaining a surveyor, obtaining the right searches, and using agents' knowledge of the area all help contribute to:

  • Providing a picture to the client of how the property works and runs
  • Identifies if the property needs an operation or two to fix some issues; and
  • Highlights if there have been any issues within the area.

I am therefore happy to say that I cannot advise on physical climate risks, but what I can do is provide clients with trusted contacts, explanations and guidance on what items mean, help with their concerns whilst using my own knowledge and speaking to and through specialists within my firm and in the required field. 

Therefore, it's important for property buyers and sellers to seek advice from qualified professionals who specialise in this area.