Five professional bodies have agreed to work together to establish the Conveyancing Task Force, whose remit will be to encourage “reform and enhancement” of the property transfer process.
Formed by the Law Society, the Society of Licensed Conveyancers, the Conveyancing Association, CILEx and the Bold Legal Group the intention behind the initiative is to improve “the conveyancing process for the benefit of consumers and lawyers alike”.
In a press release from the Law Society, they stated that it is intended that the Task Force will work with regulators and industry stakeholders, such as the Home Buying and Selling Group (HBSG), to champion best practice and consumer friendly conveyancing.
The Task Force has already agreed a set of conveyancing “work streams” which will be the focus to define the future digital conveyancing blueprint. These include:
- proof of identity;
- universal protocols;
- buyers and sellers property information forms;
- codes of practice;
- electronic signatures;
- lenders handbook requirement and review;
- property log books;
- fraud prevention protocols;
- property search review;
- vendor disclosure; and
- client communication enhancements and guidance.
David Greene, president of the Law Society of England and Wales said:
“The combination of the stamp duty land tax holiday and working from home has put conveyancing and those who practise it under enormous strain and we do not know what will happen in the market once the concession ends on 31 March,”
“We do know that the pandemic and the need for social distancing has accelerated the appetite for using digital solutions in parts of the transaction process, particularly for ID and execution and electronic and/or digital signing.
“Institutional members of what is now the Conveyancing Task Force have been working informally together for some time where there are areas of shared interest to help consumers and practitioners both in the pandemic and for the future.
“The new arrangements for the Task Force will help formalise joint working to enable co-operation to take place effectively without compromising the independence of each organisation.
“Chains of transactions mean that it is obviously helpful for all parties to be working in a similar fashion as we move forward into the digital future.
“We look forward to continuing to work constructively with other members of the Task Force and inputting our views to the Home Buying and Selling Group.”
Additional information will be available on a new Conveyancing Task Force website, due to be launched in the spring.