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Positive steps towards eConveyancing

By: Colette Neville and Jessica McGrath | Posted on: 12 Apr 2022

COVID-19 has made it necessary for many professionals to move to online systems. By way of example, 73% of Estate Agents made or considered significant investments in digital technologies.¹

The recent reform of the Electronic Commerce Act 2000 which specifically excluded interests in land from its scope is the Electronic Commerce Act 2002 (Application of sections 12 to 23 to Registered Land) Regulations 2022. This Act allowing for the use of electronic signatures for registered land is a positive step towards e-conveyancing. However, unregistered land remains outside the scope of the Act. In this article Colette Neville, Solicitor, CKT and Jessica McGrath, Intern, CKT discuss e-conveyancing and the benefits associated with it.

What is eConveyancing?

Conveyancing is the transfer of ownership of property. Electronic Conveyancing (eConveyancing) is a digital means of conveyancing which has already been adopted in England and Wales. The Law Society of Ireland have described it as “a secure, paperless, electronic, end to end, pre-sale to post-completion, conveyancing process.” ²

Why make the move to online conveyancing?

The current process for conveyancing in Ireland requires physical signatures and the delivery of papers which can be expensive and time consuming. The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) have submitted a proposal to the Legal Services Regulatory Authority which seeks to highlight the delays and lobby for the implementation of an online system.

An online process would allow for an interest in registered land to be created, acquired, disposed of or registered using an electronic signature. Surveyors are pushing for the Irish legal profession to follow the lead of the English and Welsh Land Registry with a view to reducing the delays currently hindering the Irish property system. E-conveyancing would provide professionals with a secure hub through which they would have access to information and documentation necessary for property transactions.

The Law Society of Ireland have said that eConveyancing will reduce transaction time, costs, fraud, errors, risk and delay while increasing transparency and consumer confidence.³

Next Steps

Despite this long-awaited reform, which could have the potential to dramatically improve efficiency within the conveyancing system, the Property Registration Authority of Ireland have yet to publish their requirements for implementing such changes.

It is hoped the Property Registration Authority will soon accept electronic signatures which will benefit all parties in the conveyancing process.

In 2022, CKT was awarded ‘Property Law Firm of the Year’ by Corporate INTL in its Global Awards. If you would like to contact a member of the team about a purchase or sale of property, please click here.

 

¹ Surveyors lobby legal regulator to build e-conveyancing system - Independent.ie

² E-Conveyancing 4page A4 (lawsociety.ie)

³ law-society-of-ireland-econveyancing-briefing-paper.pdf (lawsociety.ie)

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