You are here

27 July 2017

Pitfalls of Relying on a Solicitor's Approval Condition

We often see Agreements for Sale and Purchase (“Agreement”) that are subject to a “Solicitor’s Approval” clause. What does this really mean and will it provide you with a right to cancel the Agreement?

The exact wording of this condition may differ but it usually provides for the Agreement to be subject to solicitor’s approval of the form and content of the Agreement.

Legally, the grounds for withholding approval are narrow and will depend on the exact wording of the condition.  Generally, a solicitor can only withhold their approval under this condition where the “conveyancing aspects” of the transaction are unsatisfactory.

The condition cannot be used to avoid an Agreement for reasons such as:

  • The commercial aspects of the Agreement being unfavourable;
  • A change in your personal circumstances mean that you no longer want to purchase the property;
  • The Agreement is missing key conditions such as subject to finance or obtaining a building report; or
  • In the case of a Vendor, the existence of a better offer that has been received after signing an Agreement.

After the Agreement is signed is not the time for you to instruct your solicitor to assess the merits and value of the Agreement.   A Solicitor’s Approval condition is not the catch-all condition that many believe it to be.  There is no substitute for obtaining legal advice prior to signing an Agreement.

Ensure that you are protected and that the Agreement contains all of the important terms and conditions as are appropriate in your particular circumstance.  As always, an early conversation with your solicitor is better and, often less expensive, than later.


The above information is of a general nature only. You should contact our firm for advice relating to your specific circumstances.





Chris Boivin

About Chris Boivin

Chris is a Partner advising clients on a wide range of matters. He assists with both commercial, rural and residential property matters, as well as business transactions and asset planning.

View all posts by Chris Boivin
Michael Vanner

About Michael Vanner

Michael joined Saunders Robinson Brown in 2014. He is a member of the Property Team and assists clients with all aspects of the sale and purchase of residential property.

View all posts by Michael Vanner