Property Law and Conveyancing

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February 21st 2017.
e-signatures could replace signatures on Land Registry forms.
If a set of proposals by the Land Registry are approved, paper property deeds may finally be replaced by electronic documents and Solicitors would no longer be needed to witness signatures on paper documents. The Land Registry has opened a consultation on amending rules to allow documents to be signed online using the government’s Gov.UK.Verify process. Law Society president Robert Bourns described the move as a ‘positive step’, saying the Society had backed the use of electronic signatures last year with the publication of a practice note for commercial transactions. ‘We are considering the proposals in the rules consultation, and awaiting further important details on exactly how the proposed system will work,’ he said. ‘Our focus will be to ensure that they are practical and effective, and most importantly provide appropriate identity and security measures.’
More from Law Society Gazette and Today's Conveyancer.

  • The Law Society originally launched its Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) in 2010. This provides a recognised quality standard for residential conveyancing practices. Achievement of membership will establish a level of credibility for member firms with stakeholders (regulators, lenders, insurers and consumers) based upon:
    * the integrity of the Senior Responsible Officer and other key conveyancing staff.
    * the firm's adherence to good practice management standards.
    * adherence to prudent and efficient conveyancing procedures through the scheme protocol.
    The CQS is intended to help conveyancing solicitors, particularly those in small firms, demonstrate to lenders, consumers and insurers that they have effective risk assessment processes. Firms seeking membership of the scheme have their application assessed against a risk-based points system developed by the Law Society in conjunction with the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Association of British Insurers.

  • The National Land & Property Information Service (NLIS) allows official data providers to supply data electronically via the NLIS channels to the consumer. In effect, it operates in the role of a “wholesaler” of land and property information. NLIS was alunched in 1999 and is managed by Land Data, a community interest company committed to making property search information increasingly accessible to the general public. To date NLIS has processed over 22 million searches for UK homebuyers and continues to help to streamline the homebuying process. Almost all property searches (150 different search products) can be obtained electronically through NLIS via one of the NLIS Licensed Channels.
    The current NLIS Channels are Searchflow, Thames Water Property Searches and at some point in the future, GlobalX. There are however other suppliers of property searches who are not part of the NLIS system.

  • TM Group is not one of the NLIS Channels, but is still one of the largest providers of property searches to the conveyancing sector. They also work closely with local authorities, mortgage lenders and other property related bodies, providing powerful online solutions that encourage transparency and collaboration.

  • ETSOS is a leading conveyancing search aggregator, offering a choice of property searches and specialist reports for both residential and commercial sectors. Through a single interface users can order any of a large number of reports and searches.

    The ETSOS "super market" approach (i.e. offering all these different search processes and reports from one place) can now be integrated within leading case management system DPS Conveyancing Software. In other words, conveyancers using the DPS software can now find and order searches from within the case management system. The information, when returned, is then automatically assigned to the correct case file within the DPS system.

  • The Conveyancing Association (CA) founded in 2010, is the membership body for the specialist conveyancer. It is a non-profit making body representing conveyancing operations throughout the UK with a view to shaping the future of conveyancing particularly the commercially-minded, service-focused conveyancer. Members process a wide variety of conveyancing and property transactions acting for both private and corporate clients.

  • Conveyancing Calculator is an Online Conveyancing Fees Calculator which Solicitors can put onto their own website to provide potential clients with an instant online conveyancing quote. The service is cloud based. Each solicitor who signs up to the service (which only costs £95 for a year for unlimited use) receives a unique username and password. This allows the solicitor to log in and set up their own fees, cost and disbursements. They can also customise the email that clients receive when they ask for a quote. It takes just minutes to set up the access to the facility. You can see how this works by visiting a solicitor's site here. See the "Best conveyancing Rates" banner at the right hand side which then leads to the detailed calculator here. The facility has been developed ay a web site design company called Guildford-IT and can be purchased via the Conveyancing Calculator site as above.

  • Clutton Cox host a Conveyancing Blog on their web site written by solicitor Paul Hajek covering topics of property, conveyancing and related areas of interest. From that site you can also link to other blogs in the series, including Estate Agency Blog, Housing Market Blog, Landlord and Tenant Blog and Mortgage Market Blog.

  • Jonny Law Online is a very useful site about property and property law maintained by Jonathan Achampong, a conveyancing solicitor with a major firm, Ashfords. There are sections on conveyancing, lease extensions, leasehold, enfranchisement and commercial property. There are also featured articles on news items and topics of current interest.

  • Today's Conveyancer is a free online newspaper for conveyancers with relevant news, resources and jobs. It is run by Chris Harris, previously Legal Serivices Director of Legal Marketing Services which is the largest panel manager of conveyancing services in the UK. The journal is dedicated to keeping UK conveyancers informed about the changes that are happening, whether they be regulatory, technological, lender or estate agent driven.

  • Per Pro is an organisation for estate agents surveyors and lawyers to promote and protect the interests of small independent property professionals in an environment increasingly geared to swell the profitability and success of large firms, threatening the very survival of small ones. Membership is open to independent estate agents, surveyors, brokers, solicitors and conveyancers.

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