Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West, Michael Moynihan, says it would be ‘madness’ if farmers are forced to pay double for voluntary transfers of property.
A recent proposal from the Law Society aims to enforce mandatory separate legal representatives for voluntary transfers of property.
Deputy Moynihan commented: “This is of particular significance to family farms as the land may be transferring from parent to child. Traditionally the family solicitor would look after this and there would be no problem. Now the Law Society want two separate solicitors to represent the parties involved, which automatically means double the costs for clients.
“This is little more than an attempt to drum up support for solicitors and the small farmer is the person who will have to bear the brunt of this. A number of solicitors I have spoken to have expressed their huge surprise at the move and I have to agree with them. For some families with farms, the land would not be their first source of income and it is madness to ask them to pay double to transfer land.
“The contentious cases that cause controversy in families are few and far between and are the exception rather than the rule. In fairness to family solicitors, they can usually spot if there may be some contention and they deal with it. Now with two or more solicitors getting involved there is the potential for more conflict and disharmony in families.
“Farmers throughout the country have been hard pressed enough without this added burden of having to fork out two, three or four times extra for more solicitors depending on how many people the land is transferred to.
“All this will serve to do is dissuade people from legally transferring land. Solicitors should be able to advise the various parties if separate representation is needed, otherwise the existing procedure should remain.”