[WIQS] was launched by the Law Society in the Autumn of last year and the first Firms to be accredited under the Scheme have recently been announced. We at Rita Sen Solicitors are delighted to be among the successful Applicants.The intention of the Scheme is to ensure that Accredited Practices follow “best practice procedures to meet the highest standards of technical expertise and client service in accordance with the WIQS Client Charter”. It was principally this twin approach, recognizing the importance of both legal knowledge and the deployment of that knowledge in a client focused way, that attracted Rita Sen Solicitors to apply for accreditation.
The launch of WIQS came shortly after the Government rejected the suggestion of the Legal Services Board that Will Writing should be made a regulated activity, so that some control could be exercised over those who offered this vital service. The Board itself had rejected proposals that the administration of estates should also be a regulated activity. At present therefore there is no regulation of these two services and the quality of providers is variable in the extreme. Bearing in mind the potentially disastrous consequences of any failure by a service provider in these fields we consider that it is absolutely essential that anyone seeking advice should do so from a Solicitor.
“Well you would say that, wouldn’t you!” will doubtless be the immediate response to that suggestion, but one only needs to look at the rather bizarre reasoning that the LSB gave for not seeking to regulate estate administration to understand the sense behind our suggestion. In rejecting the idea that estate administration should be regulated the LSB suggested that losses sustained by individuals in this field generally arose from criminal activity. In other words the assets of the estate were pocketed by the business that had been entrusted to carry out the administration. That part of the LSB’s reasoning was fine, but it then leapt to the conclusion that if the businesses concerned were prepared to engage in criminal activity they would not be deterred by regulation, so there was no point in regulating. The reasoning entirely ignored the issue of redress. Solicitors are required to carry Professional Indemnity Insurance and, if the worst happens, there is always the Compensation Fund available to make sure that losses are made good.
The fact is however that there are more than 120,000 Solicitors in practice in England and Wales. Of course, not all of those are involved in the preparation of Wills or the administration of estates. Nonetheless there is a very significant amount of choice. WIQS gives the consumer a benchmark. Naturally, one cannot guarantee that a Practice that has achieved WIQS accreditation will be the best, nor that a Practice that has not demonstrated that they are able to satisfy the standards will provide a less good service. Perhaps these sensible question for anyone contemplating the making of a will, or requiring advice in regard to the administration of an estate is whether there is anyone better to judge the competence and service that a Solicitor provides than the Law Society?
For our part we will continue to “really care for our clients”. The fact that our services have been recognized as satisfying the high standards required by both the WIQS and the Conveyancing Quality Scheme [CQS] and that in respect of both we have been the first in our local area to achieve accreditation is something of which we are extremely proud.