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Legal Fee Guidelines Scrapped For Conveyancing Transactions

>> Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Today. Sep 23, 2009.
By Ansley Ng

WHEN they were introduced six years ago, the guidelines pointed to legal fees of up to roughly 30 per cent less for conveyancing done in property deals. Some lawyers then undercut each other in search of business.

Soon, lawyers will no longer be bound by the fee guidelines for conveyancing.

Yesterday, the Law Society said it would scrap the guide - for transactions entered into on or after Oct 1 - as part of an "ongoing review".

"As the Council (of the Law Society) believes that all fees should be freely negotiated between solicitors and their clients without guidelines from the Council (other than statutory guidelines), there is no reason to treat fees for conveyancing transactions differently," its statement said.

The guidelines were introduced in February 2003 after the abolition of scale fees, which involved an agreed set fee based on the value of a transaction.

With the guidelines at that time, a $1-million property would incur $4,700 in conveyancing fees, if the same lawyer acted for the buyer, mortgagee, mortgagor, CPF board and the CPF member.

Even with the guideline removed, the public should be aware that lawyers have a "fundamental ethical obligation" to charge fairly for work, the Law Society statement said.

A Competition Commission of Singapore study is now underway on fee guidelines for doctors after concern that it was not realistic to expect patients to shop around and compare prices.




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