You may be surprised to hear you need independent legal advice. We explain when and why it’s required and how to go about obtaining it.
Our team are available on 01225 462871. Alternatively, you can complete the Contact Form at the foot of this page.
Often, people are surprised to hear they need independent legal advice (ILA), particularly if the subject matter is one of common agreement.
However, independent advice is necessary in any matter that actually or potentially affects the rights or liability of someone other than the person undertaking the main transaction. The principal aim of ILA is to ensure you understand the nature of the document and your personal risk.
The most common scenarios where independent legal advice is required are:
- Transfers of Equity
- Occupier’s consent forms
- Equity release
- Joint borrower, sole proprietor mortgages
- Director’s personal guarantees
- Personal guarantees
- Pre and post-nuptial agreements
- Deeds of indemnity
Obtaining independent legal advice may be advisory or mandatory. For example, mortgage lenders will likely insist on you taking ILA to provide them with confirmation that you are not subject to undue influence and fully understand the document you need to sign.
How do I find an independent solicitor?
As the phrase suggests, independent legal advice is impartial advice from an independent solicitor. But it’s not always easy to find an independent solicitor willing to help as many consider that providing the advice is a high risk for a relatively small fee. However, it’s worth asking the solicitor dealing with the main transaction if they can recommend anybody.
What happens when I take independent legal advice?
The independent solicitor meets you to discuss the nature of the document and the risk you accept by signing it. They will also ask you for proof of identity. Subject to that, they will invite you to sign the document, but only if you are happy to do so.
The independent solicitor signs a certificate to confirm their compliance with these requirements.
Does the meeting have to be face-to-face?
Part of the independent solicitor’s role is to check:
- your identity.
- you are not subject to undue influence.
- no one has misled you about the nature of the transaction or the implications of signing the document.
To do this, they need to compare the person in front of them to the photo ID provided and ensure they are alone and not subject to another person’s influence. However, most mortgage lenders now allow face-to-face meetings via video conferencing on Zoom, MS Teams or similar platforms.