New technologies are ever coming and ever changing making it necessary for industries to adapt the quickest way possible. Technological advances is steadily increasing if not, occurring exponentially giving it the impression of a revolutionary change. The legal sector is definitely not spared to these futuristic advancements.
One of these new challenging advances is the introduction of electronic conveyancing, also known as online conveyancing or e-conveyancing. The implementation, not to mention, the mandatory transition of all Australian states to electronic conveyancing is posing not only as a challenge but also a threat to solicitors.
It is thereby noted that since the inception of e-conveyancing, clients expectations have increased demanding for faster, cheaper, and more transparent transactions. These accelerating demands by the now more intelligent and better-informed clients’ forces lawyers, firms, and solicitors to adapt and compromise in order not to be obsolete.
Nevertheless, learning to operate with these advance tools is not only mentally challenging, but can also be time-consuming especially since not all of these professionals are tech-savvy. Getting used to it is not optional however, so whether firms and everyone involved in conveyancing like it or not it, it is here to stay.
A quick glimpse of what conveyancing is all about
In Australia, conveyancing or transfer as others call it, involves the use of services of a licensed conveyancer or a solicitor. Even though it is possible for an individual to process it himself since kits are available for the utilisation of buyers, it is not recommended so a professional help is a must. This is because of the complexity surrounding the processes and laws. The prolusion of e-conveyancing however, promises a more simplified, cheaper, and convenient way to process conveyancing cases.
Electronic Conveyancing National Law in 2012
ECNL or Electronic Conveyancing National Law was introduced in 2012. This law requires the mandatory transitioning of all Australian states to electronic conveyancing and it is implemented by separate legislation in each State and Territory.
But what is electronic conveyancing?
Electronic conveyancing is a newly added legal term which refers to a conveyancing transaction settled electronically (online) by the authorized and/or licensed practitioners with the use of a platform provided by PEXA (Property Exchange Australia Limited).
Both the representatives of the parties and solicitors or licensed conveyancer performs in an electronic workspace in which they can process the transfer online. E-conveyancing allows the ability to prepare for and execution of settlement and registration, but to date it does not cover the whole of the conveyancing transaction.
Promising Aspect of Electronic Conveyancing
This electronic transaction helps minimize time-consuming manual processes and paperwork. It allows lawyers, firms, conveyancers, and et al. to conveniently transact online. It has the ability to complete financial settlements and to lodge documents electronically allowing faster turnaround time.
Electronic conveyancing also promotes the reduction of errors, thus ensuring higher success rate in accomplishing an on-time settlement. The probability of reducing stress is high with the use of online conveyancing software allowing both parties to settle electronically. This is because it can significantly accelerate the processing of transactions while at the same time, eliminating most errors.
However, this electronic conveyancing has also its share of pros and cons compared to manual conveyancing of documents.
Pros and cons of using e-Conveyancing software as compared to manual conveyancing
The pros includes the following but not limited to:
* Automatic Billing
It is equipped with a system that can instantly inform clients how much the possible cost will be if ever they engaged in transfer of real properties or any other form of conveyances. They will no longer speculate on the amount of the lawyer’s fees and other legal expenses once they agreed in getting his legal services for the said transaction.
With electronic conveyancing, clients can readily allot a certain budget for specific transactions and avoid hefty bill charges by lawyers or local solicitors.
Unlike in a manual conveyancing of documents, most clients have no prior knowledge pertaining to costs of filing and registration or payment for conveyance fee or transfer taxes.
This is because, in practice, most lawyers and solicitors disclosed all their fees only after their transaction ended.
* Cheaper and Convenient
Online conveyancing is cheaper and convenient than manual conveyancing because the client will be spared in shelling out money to personally meet his lawyer or local solicitor. All queries about real property conveyances are already available online.
Compared to a traditional or manual conveyances the parties and the lawyers need to personally meet for the actual drafting of a contract or deed, because real property conveyances must always be in writing. Otherwise, it will not bind third persons.
Online conveyancing of property provides a more transparent transaction between the seller and the buyer. As the former gets to know more about the background of the latter and vice versa including the state of the property to be disposed–whether it is free from any encumbrance or lien affecting thereof.
All the records and audit trail of the job can be viewed upon the completion of the transaction. As compared to manual conveyancing of documents, there’s a tendency for the buyer to be victimized by unscrupulous seller like the deliberate failure to disclose possible negative circumstances affecting the property.
It is important to note that e-conveyancing is new and is constantly being updated and improved to address possible loopholes. To date, there are no major disadvantages cited, but for reference below are the cons noticed by some practitioners:
* Inability to support more than two sequential transactions
PEXA, the platform used in e-conveyancing at this time does not support more than two transfers.
* Soft-skills training
Most practitioners are way too busy thus training to use the new system will pose as a real challenge. Since e-conveyancing requires technical knowledge, it is essential for practitioners to familiarize themselves with the platform, and the new process in general. It is expected that practitioners doing their first online conveyancing transaction might consume more time than expected especially if one isn’t tech-savvy.