Changes in conveyancing practice: PEXA and e-conveyancing

The LIV has been actively involved in the process of delivering electronic conveyancing to Victorian legal practitioners for many years. It started with the Victorian project known as ECV followed by the National Electronic Conveyancing System. Electronic conveyancing now being delivered by Property Exchange Australia Limited, the owners of which include various state governments and major banks. Whilst PEXA is a commercial organisation, it is regulated to a degree by the Australian Registrars National Electronic Conveyancing Council (ARNECC).
Throughout this lengthy development process, the LIV has worked collaboratively with the Law Council of Australia (LCA) and the state and territory law associations to ensure that the delivered system meets the needs of practitioners and their clients.

PEXA has been available for settlements and lodgements in Victoria since 27 January 2015. Following Land Use Victoria’s announcement regarding a transition to 100% digital lodgement, electronic conveyancing and use of PEXA will become mandatory from 1 August 2019.   Therefore, practitioners will need to equip themselves with the skills to make critical decisions about the future of their practice in this area, including considerations on the risks, legal obligations, costs and impact on current practices and procedures.

Electronic conveyancing resources

The LIV has compiled and produced a series of comprehensive electronic conveyancing resources for members:

  • Important change to caveats
    Digital becomes the new standard for lodging caveats from 1 December. This electronic reform has been consistently flagged by Land Use Victoria well in advance of the imminent compliance deadline.
  • Transition to 100% digital conveyancing VIDEO
    There are changes coming for lawyers practising in property law. The transition to 100% digital conveyancing and lodgement will change the face of property practice for good, and it’s essential that all lawyers in this space are aware of the new digital requirements. This video is designed to provide you the essential information you need to know as a property lawyer working in 2017 and beyond. You will learn the step-by-step details of what changes are coming into effect, what you need to do to prepare and how you can remain compliant during the transition.
    Watch the video trailer.
  • Five benefits of online property settlement
    Land Use Victoria has announced critical changes for lawyers who have to date only lodged documents using the paper channel. Commercial mortgages and refinance transactions must be lodged electronically from 1 August this year (applies to ADIs* and conveyancers and lawyers acting for ADIs). A few months later on 1 December digital lodgement applies for caveats and other mortgage matters undertaken by conveyancers and lawyers acting for non-ADIs. Property Exchange Australia (PEXA) has to date registered approximately 4,300 lawyers and conveyancers Australia-wide so that they can settle and lodge instruments online well before this upcoming deadline.
  • The what, why and how of e-conveyancing – DVD
    This DVD informs practitioners about the legal framework, risks and obligations associated with e-conveyancing. While some elements of electronic conveyancing may have changed slightly since the DVD was produced in 2015, the key principles and concepts remain the same.
  • Electronic conveyancing fact sheet
    This fact sheet provides practitioners with useful information to assist them in understanding electronic conveyancing. While some elements of electronic conveyancing may have changed slightly since the fact sheet was produced in 2015, the key principles and concepts remain the same.
  • Electronic conveyancing FAQs
    The FAQs provide practitioners with answers to common queries about electronic conveyancing. While some elements of electronic conveyancing may have changed slightly since the FAQs were produced in 2015, the key principles and concepts remain the same.
  • Electronic conveyancing special condition for use with the LIV / REIV contract of sale of real estate
    The authors of the Law Institute of Victoria and the Real Estate Institute of Victoria’s “Contract of Sale of Real Estate” (Russell Cocks, David Lloyd and Murray McCutcheon) have prepared this special condition for use in transactions where the parties agree that settlement and lodgement will be conducted electronically in accordance with the Electronic Conveyancing National Law.
  • VOI Checklist
    The LIV has produced this checklist for use in both paper and electronic conveyancing transactions. The checklist will assist practitioners to conduct VOI in accordance with the VOI Standard and provide guidance on taking reasonable steps to verify identity if the Standard cannot be met. The requirement to verify the identity and authority (‘right to deal’) for clients applies to instruments dated on or after 9 November 2015. VOI of non-represented parties will follow for instruments dated on or after 1 December 2015. The checklist was updated in June 2017.
  • Verification of Authority Right to Deal Checklist
    For each conveyancing transaction, a practitioner must take reasonable steps to verify that their client is a legal person and has the right to enter into the conveyancing transaction. The requirement to verify the authority (‘right to deal’) for clients applies to instruments dated on or after 9 November 2015. In June 2017, the LIV produced this checklist to assist and provide guidance to practitioners in conducting verification of authority in accordance with the applicable requirements and standards.

LIJ and blog electronic conveyancing articles

Other electronic conveyancing resources

  • LIV
    A letter from the LIV CEO highlighting the important changes to property transactions taking place over the next two years.
  • PEXA
    Various resources, produced by PEXA, are available on its website.
  • Australian Registrars’ National Electronic Conveyancing Council (ARNECC)
    Latest information about the national electronic conveyancing regulatory framework. Producers of the Model Operating Requirements (MOR), Model Participation Rules (MPR) and Client Authorisation Form. ARNECC also publishes Guidance Notes based on its Model Participation Rules to assist Subscribers in understanding what is expected of them in complying with the Registrar’s Participation Rules in each jurisdiction. 
  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Land Titles (Land Use Victoria)
    Contains information, including forms, guides and fees, in relation to transfer of land in Victoria. Land Victoria also regularly releases Customer Information Bulletins pertaining to various issues, including electronic conveyancing and electronic Certificates of Title.
  • State Revenue Office (SRO)
    Please see the SRO website for more information on how e-conveyancing will impact on the payment and lodgement of land transfer duties. For more information, please consult the Duties Online User Guide.
  • Law Council of Australia (LCA) National Electronic Conveyancing System (NECS)
    Contains information on advocacy untaken by the LCA and its constituent bodies regarding national electronic conveyancing since 2005.
  • Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee (LPLC)
    Contains useful information and resources covering the breadth of property and mortgages issues, including electronic conveyancing.
  • Queensland Law Society Guidelines for E-Conveyancing
    Prepared by the Property & Development Law Committee of the Queensland Law Society, these Guidelines are designed to reflect recommended practice for solicitors who have been retained to act in residential property transactions where electronic settlement and lodgement through PEXA has been agreed. The Guidelines also provide a useful overview of the e-conveyancing legal framework and PEXA.

Conveyancing Checklists

The LIV’s Property Law Committee has prepared the following conveyancing checklists to assist practitioners in managing conveyancing files. These checklists are currently being revised to account for transactions being completed electronically.

Legislation

The Electronic Conveyancing (Adoption of National Law) Act 2013 (pdf) came into effect on 14 March 2013. It adopts the Electronic Conveyancing National Law in Victoria and makes consequential amendments to the Transfer of Land Act 1958 and other Acts.