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Conveyancing Crash - update on security and using other conveyancers

The conveyancing IT crash plaguing the Simplify Group of companies continues into its ninth day; however there is an update for agents and others interfacing with the affected firms.

The affected companies are Premier Property Lawyers, JS Law, DC Law and Advantage Property Lawyers.

A detailed note from the industry regulator the Council for Licensed Conveyancers makes clear that Simplify Group continues to work around the clock to minimise the effect of the IT crisis first reported on November 7 - although it remains uncertain even now how the crisis came about.


A number of key issues are addressed in the latest update from the CLC, which has visited the Simplify offices to see the situation at first hand:

- the security of client funds was not compromised in the incident;

- all contracted completions due to take place last week, on November 8 to 12 inclusive, completed successfully;

- Simplify remains unable to say when systems will be restored fully and normal business will resume; 

- Simplify cannot currently provide individual clients with rapid updates on the progress of their specific transactions;

- it is contacting clients in order of priority based on whether completions or exchanges are scheduled for the coming days or further into the future;

- it has moved beyond completing already-exchanged transactions to working on exchange contracts on files ready to exchange and complete;

- with regard to other conveyancers, Simplify clients involved in the incident who move to a rival company will not be charged for work already completed by Simplify and - once available - land searches already completed for these clients may be transferred to the new conveyancer.

The CLC statement also offers two other key statements:

“If you have exchanged contracts, Simplify says that your conveyancer will be able to complete the transaction and should be in touch with you soon if they have not been already. If you prefer to move to a different conveyancer you are free to do so, but please be aware that this could result in the transaction taking a longer period of time” and…

“Clients who have not yet exchanged contracts with their seller or buyer must consider whether to wait to progress their transactions when Simplify’s systems are running again or whether to instruct a different conveyancer. The limited access Simplify currently has to transaction files means that they cannot currently provide files to another conveyancer. We are pressing Simplify to address this. This could mean that you would need to start from the beginning, and this may result in your transaction taking longer. You should consider how far advanced your transaction is – how much work has already been done on it – when you make your decision.”

You can see the full CLC statement here.

  • Rob Hailstone

    Thank goodness that it appears that data and funds are safe. That is of little help to clients who are currently stuck in some kind of home moving limbo land. However, without yet knowing the full facts, many can only feel there but for the grace of God go I.

    The time for pointing the finger and, if one really feels the need, smug comments may come (it may not of course), but right now help and reassurance to the employees of the firms involved, their clients and everyone else affected by this event is surely the most constructive way forward.

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    If there are any estate agents struggling with cases let us know at Movin Legal, we are more than happy to help in the short term to assist clients in being able to move house.

  • Peter Ambrose

    Gracious Lyndon!

    The words "cold", "grave", "yet" and "not" seem apposite here.


    Sorry Peter, I believe you have misunderstood my comment, it wasnt meant in the way which you are Insinuating, I apologise for the misunderstanding.

  • Fabian Braithwaite

    Hi Rob, do you have any evidence for your statement that data is safe? Simplify has put out numerous statements about funds having never been compromised but I haven't seen any similar statements about client data. Also, how about a modicum of objectivity from you here? Your attempt in advance to categorize any criticism as "finger-pointing" and "smug" looks like you are actively running interference for them. I'm sure that isn't the case.

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    It would be useful to know what happened. If for example it was a ransomware attack, then people would know that their data is locked, but safer than other forms of hacks where data is stolen. I have seen the effects of ransomware, and if that's the case, then Simplify have my utmost sympathy.

    Matthew Payne

    It is noticeable that 9 days on there still isn't any transparency on how, what, why. Will make it all the harder when the dust has settled and everyone finds out what has happened, it has created a load of extra cost and anxiety for the 1000s of people affected, and not knowing the full extent of the issue (or otherwise) is only compounding that.

  • Rob Hailstone

    Fabian, I said data "appears" to be safe. One would like to think that if the CLC have been in and are allowing them to continue trading that would be the case. My comments about being smug etc are as a result of some comments posted in the Law Society Gazette today (online).

    Believe me, when the dust settles and the facts are known, I will comment without a (this is not a kangaroo court) filter on. In the meantime, I will continue to be as fair and as accurate as possible.


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