Welcome to the Consumers section of the AIPP Legal Working Group (LWG). This section is designed for British consumers who are either interested in buying a property abroad or currently own one and are experiencing difficulties, and explains the scope of this service and how to apply.
AIPP regards education of British consumers and assistance when things go wrong with property purchases to be an important aspect of the association’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The LWG service is administered by AIPP and delivered by our Legal Members.
Free services provided
This service is provided free of charge and available if:
1. You are a British resident looking to buy a foreign property and seek a legal ‘road map’ to assist you.
2. You are a British resident owning a foreign property and seek assistance over a matter of dispute.
This service is provided by Legal Members of AIPP who have also elected to join the LWG. Legal members include both Law firms and Legal Service providers and provide access to their network of local Law firm partners who provide legal advice.
The AIPP LWG also provides information about Notaries who are often required when buying a property abroad. Certain members of LWG provide Notary services. The Notaries Society also provides information about the work of Notaries and a directory to find one in your area.
The advice provided by our Legal Members through the LWG service is divided into two separate areas as follows;
1. Purchase of a property
a. The advice to be given is up to an hour spent educating and informing the consumer as to how the process of buying a property in that country works at a general level (i.e. not specific to their particular circumstances). The amount of time spent can be less than an hour if the consumer requests it or if the Legal Member believes that the consumer is trying to gather information for the purpose of not taking full independent legal advice at all to help them buy a property. Please complete the Consumer Enquiry Form to request this service.
b. If the consumer requires any specific advice relating to a purchase over and above the education and information in section 1(a) above then it will be up to the Legal Member to decide at which point they will stop providing pro-bono work. There is no requirement for Legal Members of the LWG to provide any advice over and above 1a above.
2. Problems with existing property
a. Review of the brief provided by the consumer relating to the legal matter in hand and its background. The Consumer Enquiry Form should be used to provide this brief.
b. A review of the copy of the documents and the correspondence between the relevant parties (which should not exceed 50 pages) and which may include the promotional material, contracts and the relevant correspondence in relation to the legal matter in hand.
c. Up to 1 hour discussion with the consumer to gather further information and to discuss the matter with them.
d. Provide a legal opinion in writing as to the situation, the possible options going forward and potential costs of proceeding with each option.
e. If the Legal Member of the LWG wishes, they can take on the case going forward at no cost on a completely pro-bono basis but there is no requirement to do so.
The LWG currently cover the following countries: Argentina, Brazil, Cape Verde, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, USA, and Venezuela.
If your country of enquiry is not listed here then we cannot provide assistance through the LWG. However, we may be able to put you in touch with a Legal Member of AIPP that could provide some level of assistance to you. This would be outside the remit of AIPP LWG and be a direct relationship between yourself and the Legal Member, and as such the Legal Member may seek to charge you for their services. If you would be interested in this alternative solution, please make contact with AIPP at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will determine whether a Legal Member can help. We are continuously developing this service and will be increasing the number of countries covered as we recruit new members to the AIPP LWG scheme.
The purpose of the LWG is to provide guidance and advice at the start of a legal process (a property purchase or dispute resolution). If a lawyer has already been retained, then LWG cannot respond.
The advice and guidance provided to both prospective buyers and current owners is not intended to be comprehensive and should not be used as a substitute for full independent legal advice (pursuant to either a purchase or litigation) which we encourage you to seek out. To that end, you are quite entitled to choose to continue using the services of the Legal Member assigned to you under this service, in accordance with their terms of doing business, or select another firm outside our membership
If you are interested in using the service then the first thing you should do is to complete and submit the Consumer Enquiry Form. The purpose of this form is to tell us who you are and how to make contact, the identity and contact details of any other party (if relevant) and a summary of the nature of your enquiry; a proposed property purchase or a matter of dispute with an existing property.
Once we have received the signed Terms & Conditions we will review your enquiry and allocate to you the LWG member who has expertise in your country of choice.
The LWG member will make contact with you and ask you to sign their own Client letter which will define the work and terms they will undertake for this service. The LWG member will carry out the work with the same professional skill and diligence as they would do if they were being paid by the consumer to provide the advice. His or her only duty of care will be to the beneficiary of that advice. If any other person wants to rely on the work carried out under this facility by an LWG member they do so at their own risk, unless the LWG member agrees in writing that they may also rely on it.
Legal Members of the LWG will be asked at the outset whether they have a conflict of interest in a particular case. If the member determines at any point that there is a conflict their service will be withdrawn and AIPP will then allocate an alternate suitable LWG member.
The same requirement to notify AIPP as soon as possible of a conflict of interest rests with you, the consumer. AIPP will immediately communicate this to the LWG member concerned who will discontinue their work, and then allocate an alternate LWG member to your case.
You will be notified when the service provision is completed by your LWG member. You are entitled to continue using their services, either on a pro-bono or fee paying basis (as agreed) outside this facility and in accordance with the LWG member’s normal terms and conditions.
We would be most grateful if you would complete and submit the Feedback Form and in this section of the website as this will allow us to track progress of cases and to continuously improve and extend the service.