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New coalition seeks to drive e-conveyancing

By Michael Cross >>

(3 August 2023)

More than 20 years after ‘e-conveyancing’ was enabled in law, a coalition of legal, government and business groups has been set up in the latest attempt to make it reality. The Digital Property Market Steering Group (DPMSG) will represent legal professional bodies – including the Law Society – government agencies and property businesses. 

The group ‘will build on existing progress across the home buying and selling system to get a better result for the customer: simpler, faster, more certain and less stressful’, the launch announcement states. 

All-digital conveyancing has in theory been legal since the Land Registration Act 2002. However attempts to set up a one-stop system, including HM Land Registry’s ‘chain matrix’ and the Law Society’s Veyo scheme – foundered. ‘The job of modernising the process has proved more challenging than envisaged and one that no single institution can achieve on its own,’ the steering group announcement observes. 

The group will ‘help the property market work better for all by accelerating the adoption of digital technology, while ensuring it is transparent, secure and consumer friendly, through collaboration and innovation across the sector’. Founding members of the group include the Law Society, Conveyancing Association, Council for Licensed Conveyancers, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Building Societies Association, UK Finance and HM Land Registry. 

Lubna Shuja, Law Society president, said: ‘The Law Society is committed to improving the home-buying experience for consumers and others involved in the conveyancing process. Whilst we know that chains of transactions can lengthen timescales, involving sellers’ solicitors at an early stage would make the process smoother and more efficient.

‘Although there is no silver bullet, digitisation will be transformative in this work, especially in relation to ID, digital deeds, digital registration, and providing important information to consumers about both the process and the property at an early stage.

‘We recognise that the combined efforts of the whole sector – regulators, professional and trade bodies, and government – are needed to achieve this. This new group provides a forum for collaboration and achieving change, while enabling individual members to progress their own work in a co-ordinated way.’

A launch event for the initiative will be held on 12 September.  

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)