I''d class this as a general solicitor''s ethics question.
My ex and I are divorced and the court order states the equity in FMH is to be split 60/30 in my favour. The only buyer''s offer is much lower than the valuation. The ex has agreed to meet me halfway, so instead of me taking most of the hit he''s agreed to give me the difference and make the loss 50/50. Unfortunately whilst the agreement is amicable the ex won''t trust me and pay me direct, not that I have ever acted in an untrustworthy manner particularly where money is concerned and have put it in writing to him I agree it would be fraudulent to keep the money if the sale did fall through.
To avoid amending the order I suggested the conveyancing sol. accepts a payment on account from him with the instruction money to be paid to me on completion or him if it doesn''t go through. We independently put the terms in writing to her. She agreed at first but now says it''s not possible, she will only handle the sale proceeds, she said it was a conflict of interest although I don''t see how and we have to get the court order amended which is going to take time, cost money and may result in the buyer pulling out. Is there some code of conduct she would breach by taking money from him in this manner or is she just racking up more fees?
Conveyancers usually work for a fixed fee so racking up more fees seems unlikely.
Where there is a joint instruction there is usually a joint/nominated account in which to pay the monies but as there is an agreement you are effectively asking the conveyancing solicitor to implement the terms of the agreement which is blurring the boundaries between litigation and non-litigation work.
In such circumstances, the solicitor would usually agree to act for one of you, complete the conveyance, receive the monies and pay out a pre determined sum to the other party through their solicitor then release the rest to their client.
It was her referring it back to the family solicitors that would have incurred the extra fees. I spoke to another conveyancing solicitor from another firm and he felt that as there was a clear agreement that was not at all complex he would have accepted the arrangement so the ex has gone back to the sol to clarify what the issue is. Hopefully it will be resolved quickly!