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A question of trust?

The importance for property professionals of recognising ‘red flags’ in conveyancing transactions is underlined by the recent decision in Purrunsing, write James Robins and Ivan Roots

22 December 2016

The recent case of Purrunsing v (1) A’Court & Co (a firm) (2) House Owners Conveyancers Ltd [2016] EWHC 789 (Ch) illustrates how necessary it is for conveyancers to carry out risk-based due diligence to save themselves and their insurers from expensive claims arising out of fraudulent conveyancing transactions.

The case involved an identity fraudster (F) who purported to be the owner of a house in Wimbledon. He did not in fact own it. He instructed a firm of solicitors, A’ Court & Co (ACC), to deal with the sale of the house. He told ACC the property was vacant and he lived in Maidenhead. He said the property had no mortgage as it had been gifted to him by his father and he wanted the sale to complete within seven days as he needed the money.

The official copies for the property revealed the registered proprietor’s address to be the property address and also a...

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