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How independent legal advice can protect you

Before signing any legal agreement, it’s essential to get independent legal advice, to ensure you are fully protected in case something goes wrong.
What is considered independent legal advice?

In order to be fully informed before you sign on the dotted line, impartial and independent legal advice (ILA) is required. It protects anyone assuming risk or liability and the other party, as the person assuming the liability cannot later claim that they were not fully apprised of what they were agreeing to. In order to qualify as independent legal advice, there are 4 elements required:

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.       It must come from an independent solicitor. This means they cannot be linked with or employed by either of the parties or their companies. This ensures that there is no bias.

.       Impartial advice – any information must be completely free from bias towards any of the parties or their point of view and it cannot be influenced.

.       Best interest – the advice given must be in the best interest of the party that is asking for it. The solicitor has a duty to provide accurate and helpful advice.

.       No conflict of interest – the solicitor has to be able to freely offer impartial advice. This means they cannot benefit or profit from the transaction in any way, other than any fees paid to them for their service. The Solicitors Regulation Authority says that lawyers cannot act if there is an own interest conflict or if there is a significant risk of one. This includes things like a financial interest of your own or of someone who is close to you in a business or personal relationship.

How do I obtain ILA?

There are many law firms such as https://www.samconveyancing.co.uk/news/conveyancing/independent-legal-advice-4849 that can offer advice on a variety of issues. If you already have a solicitor, you’ll need to find another one who isn’t currently acting on your behalf.

Before you meet with them, it’s important to send them all the relevant paperwork so they have time to read it through. When you do meet, you will review all transaction documents together, but with no one else in the room so the solicitor can confirm their advice is completely confidential and impartial and you are not being coerced into anything.

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Why do I need it?

ILA makes sure those signing a legal agreement fully understand it and any personal risk from it. Legal documents are usually lengthy and it takes time to fully comprehend all the terms and conditions. With a mortgage application, lenders usually require applicants to obtain ILA to avoid any future disputes. Other types of legal agreements that require ILA include director’s or personal guarantees and Deeds of Trust.

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