Electronic conveyancing is one step closer to implementation following the House of Lords’ approval of the Land Registration Bill.
The Bill, which is in favour of creating an online conveyancing service to speed up the home-buying process, received no opposition from the House of Lords. If it is approved by the House of Commons, it could be compulsory for all conveyancers to transact business online.
The Bill states: ‘Some of the benefits of electronic conveyancing can only be maximised if it is used universally. The Bill, therefore, gives the Lord Chancellor power to make the use of electronic means for conveyancing compulsory, subject to consultation.’
The Law Society welcomed the news and said the move towards an online service would mark the most significant change in conveyancing for more than 75 years.
The society has had an active role in the development of the National Land Information Service (NLIS) ‘ a joint initiative between central and local government to provide land and property-related information held by different organisations online. The system would allow solicitors to carry out property searches online throughout England and Wales. The society is confident the system will go live shortly and has even held a seminar to help inform conveyancers of the possible changes it could bring.
‘Homebuyers and solicitors will both benefit from this innovative online conveyancing system and the Law Society is delighted to be part of this exciting project helping solicitors around the country get a better understanding of it,’ said David McIntosh, president of the Law Society.
Jennifer Stoddart, senior press officer at Nationwide, said: ‘Anything that smoothes the way for homebuyers and speeds up the process as whole has to be positive. We are very keen on using electronic formats in other areas of our business, so I do not see why electronic conveyancing would be an issue.’