Commercial Property Standard Enquiries - standard replies (version 2)

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The documents set out below contain proforma replies to the suite of Commercial Property Standard Enquiries. These enable the fee earner more speedily to complete standard pre-contract enquiry replies.

However, a general warning is given in relation to the compiling of "standard" replies. It comes from the case of William Sindall plc v Cambridgeshire County Council [1993] EWCA Civ 14 (per Hoffmann LJ):

"It is well established that a statement that a vendor is not aware of a [particular matter] carries with it an implied representation that he has taken reasonable steps to ascertain whether any exists...In my judgment, the answer "Not so far as the Vendor is aware" represents not merely that the vendor and his solicitor had no actual knowledge of a defect, but also that they have made such investigations as could reasonably be expected to be made by or under the guidance of a prudent conveyancer."

The lawyer should treat proforma standard replies with great circumspection, and should ensure that all replies are tailored so as (a) to give accurate information, and (b) to avoid misrepresentation. These documents are only intended to give you the tools from which you can compile your client's replies. They do not provide the replies themselves.

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