HM Land Registry is considering publishing comparative data about conveyancers to give clients 'a real picture of how well their conveyancer is performing, and to enable firrms to track their relative performance'. The move into legal comparison territory appears in a five-year business plan published this week, which sets out ways for exploring new technology and making better use of data. 

The 2017-22 strategy is the most comprehensive forward plan to appear since the registry was spared from privatisation last year. Graham Farrant, chief executive and chief land registrar, said the strategy sets out to implement the ambition 'to become the world’s leading land registry for speed, simplicity and an open approach to data'.

This will involve exploring the application of artificial intelligence in conveyancing and registration, the strategy says. 'AI might assist conveyancers by processing and interpreting data from the register and taking unstructured data from documents to automatically identify the main information needed to complete the transaction.' 

Blockchain - the digital encryption technology behind digital currencies - will also be investigated. This could enable the register to be distributed among trusted parties such as lenders and conveyancers, 'giving them the ability to operate and update in a secure and tamper-proof manner', the strategy states.  

Making better use of data is a recurring theme.  A research programme called Digital Street 'will provide an opportunity to work closely with proptech, fintech and lawtech start-ups and innovative businesses, such as challenger banks, to explore how a digital register might enable new business models to make conveyancing simpler, faster and cheaper'.

Last week's budget revealed plans to set up a Geospatial Data Commission to develop ways of exploiting geographical data held by public agencies, including Ordnance Survey and the Valuation Office Agency as well as Land Registry.