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Update on CML handbook

07 April 2014 | tagged Current issues

At the Society's 65th annual general meeting on 4 April 2014, Alistair Morris delivered the following update on behalf of the Society's Council of Mortgage Lenders Working Party.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen

I am the Convener of the CML Working Party which was set up by the Society's Council following the "no" vote against the separate representation of borrowers and lenders in conveyancing transactions at the special general meeting on 23 September 2013. Those who were present at the SGM will remember that there was an impassioned debate with strongly expressed views from both sides, but ultimately solicitors voted against a change to the conflict of interest rule. Accordingly the same solicitor can still act for both the borrower and the lender in a residential conveyancing transaction.

The CML Working Party has been established to meet with the Council of Mortgage Lenders with a view to negotiating changes to the CML Handbook in order to frame fairer and more relevant rules for Scotland thereby making the CML Handbook more suitable for Scottish practice and procedure. The Working Party members are me, Ross MacKay who is also the Convener of the Society's Property Law Committee, Paul Carnan and Richard Farquhar of the Society's financial compliance team.

The Working Party had an initial meeting on 29 November 2013 to consider its remit followed by a very positive meeting with CML representatives on 17 December 2013 at which there was a lengthy discussion in relation to proposed amendments to the CML Handbook. We have recently received encouraging and constructive correspondence from Kennedy Foster who is the CML's Scottish Policy Consultant. The CML have expressed positive views in relation to our proposal of developing a standardised Certificate of Title and reporting format and various technical amendments to the Handbook have also been accepted and consequential changes continue to be developed.

Although it is my view that encouraging progress has been made in relation to the proposed amendments it is important to note that any changes to the Handbook will result in practical procedural improvements only and will not change the fundamental duties of solicitors to both of their clients, borrower and lender. Additionally any changes require to be approved by the CML Legal Advisory Panel and Handbook Oversight Group before final sign off by a sub group of the CML Executive Committee. Accordingly this is not going to be a quick process and I would request your patience and forbearance as we go forward.

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