Mumbai-based IT giant Mastek is to be the Law Society's partner in building an online conveyancing system, the Society announced this morning.

The Conveyancing Portal, due to go on 'beta' test this year, is designed to speed up house-buying and reduce the risk of fraud. It will be built by Legal Practice Technologies Ltd, a joint venture between the Society and Mastek UK.

Mastek, a multinational IT services company with a presence in North America and the Asia-Pacific as well as the UK and India, was picked after a 'rigorous research, development and negotiation process', the Society said. 

Jonathan Smithers, deputy vice president, added: 'The portal will make it easier for conveyancing professionals to better serve the house-buying public. In its first phase the system will allow professionals to better communicate with each other, clients and other parties, satisfy due diligence obligations more quickly and at lower cost and facilitate the conveyance of residential property through established protocols.'

The portal will centrally process a conveyancing matter as a ‘case’ containing information, documents and decisions. Cases can be securely archived and recalled when required. Case management will be separate to any internal systems operating within a firm in the first release.

The aim is to: 

  • Provide both small and large firms with a simple tool to help the house-buying process;
  • Enable smaller firms to use technically advanced platforms normally available only to larger concerns; and
  • To strengthen risk management and compliance.

The system is due to begin tests later this year. The Society will be seeking a wide range of participants to test usability before full launch next year.