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Ditch the paper now: mandatory e-conveyancing is almost here

Ditch the paper now: mandatory e-conveyancing is almost here

By LIV Professional Development



Technology has changed everything in the workplace. From emails to instant messages to group chat applications like Slack and WhatsApp, new applications constantly transform the way offices and teams communicate with each other on a daily basis.

Of course, there are always a few hold-outs – those who still prefer the printed memo instead of the email, or the face-to-face meeting rather than the group chat. Generally, we indulge the colleagues among us who dig their heels against technology-induced change and hold to tradition.

However, when it comes to technology in the area of property law, resisting the fast-approaching elimination of paper conveyancing will ultimately place limitations on your practice.

Since January 2015 PEXA has been available for settlements and lodgements by Victorian lawyers. However, in the very near future, e-conveyancing won't just be a choice – it will be mandatory, and lawyers who are unable or unaware of how to lodge or settle through the digital process will no longer be able to engage in property settlements at all.

By 1 August 2019, all property settlements must be lodged electronically. It may seem like quite a distance away, but it's important to note the transition dates happening ahead of this are fast approaching.

A recent Land Victoria customer information bulletin outlined the most critical dates coming up for property lawyers, including:

1 December 2017

All stand-alone caveats and withdrawals of caveat signed on or after 1 December 2017 must be lodged using the Electronic Lodgement Network (PEXA). This requirement applies to conveyancers and lawyers acting for a party or themselves and PEXA Subscribers.

Non-authorised deposit-taking institutions (non-ADIs) standalone discharges of mortgage, standalone mortgages and refinance transactions (discharges of mortgage and mortgages) signed on or after 1 December 2017 must be lodged using the Electronic Lodgement Network (PEXA). This requirement applies to conveyancers and lawyers acting for a non-ADI and non-ADIs who are PEXA Subscribers.

31 December 2017

The transition period for accepting forms not containing certifications ends on 31 December 2017. All forms signed on or after 1 January 2018 lodged for registration must be the new forms that include certifications.

When a conveyancer or lawyer represents a party in the transaction, the form must:

  • be signed on behalf of the party by the conveyancer or lawyer
  • contain the certifications required by the Registrar’s requirements for paper conveyancing transactions.

Non-compliant forms will not be accepted. More information on completing signing options will be provided in the next bulletin.

Read the full text of this bulletin by downloading it here.

Ahead of the final cut-off date of 1 August 2019, a significant amount of effort will be required on the part of each property lawyer to register for accounts on Duties Online and PEXA, not to mention the necessity to get familiar with the platforms to ensure they are capable and confident carrying out an electronic conveyance well before they do so for an actual client.

The LIV recognises that this is a significant and perhaps even unsettling change for property lawyers, especially those who have been practising for decades. As an LIV member, there is a wealth of resources and news available to you through the 100% Digital Lodgement webpages.

But the best way to ensure you are aware of all the coming changes, as well as what you need to do to prepare, is to attend the Transition to 100% Digital Conveyancing Symposium on Thursday 2 November – a highly informative half day conference that will give you an in depth look at the changes from the top experts in the area. Featuring sessions on preparing for the transition and a guide to PEXA, plus a panel discussion giving you an opportunity to ask your burning question, this symposium is not to be missed by any lawyer who wants to conduct conveyances from 2019 onward.


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