All conveyancing professionals will have access to the Law Society’s online conveyancing system – so long as they pass due diligence tests equivalent to those in the Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme, the team behind the project has revealed.
The Conveyancing Portal, due to go live next year, aims to streamline the process, cut the number of failed transactions and reduce the risk of fraud, Elliott Vigar, the Society’s head of commercial investments, said.
Vigar told the Legalex conference in London that the Society intends to allow licensed conveyancers as well as solicitors to use the portal to ensure widespread take-up of the ‘one-stop shop’.
‘It has to be available to all conveyancers not just solicitors. Our intention is that the portal will be open to every conveyancing professional, solicitors, licensed conveyancers and legal executives if they get approval,’ Vigar said.
‘We will set the due diligence bar at the level required for the CQS. Non-solicitors will have to go through the equivalent due diligence.’
The portal is being created under a joint venture between the Society and a so-far un-named IT partner and will begin ‘beta tests’ later this year. It has three main components, a public area, a private area and a secure transaction area.
Clients will be able to call up information about their matter on a smartphone app, showing what stage has been reached in the transaction and what tasks remain outstanding. While this will provide a 'bird’s-eye view’ of transaction chains, each party in a transaction will have control over what information is displayed.
This is a significant difference from Land Registry of England and Wales’ ill-fated conveyancing portal, which was abandoned in 2007 amid scepticism over its so-called ‘chain matrix’ feature.
The project is on track to go fully live at the end of the first quarter of 2015, Vigar said. Initially it will interface with Land Registry systems, but the plan is to extend computer links to HMRC and lenders’ systems.