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Electronic Conveyancing

The electronic conveyancing law has been adopted by reference into Victorian law by the Electronic Conveyancing (Adoption of National Law) Act 2013, meaning that e-Conveyancing will soon be a reality in Victoria. 

Background

Electronic conveyancing has had a long and unsuccessful history in Australia, even though it has been the goal of many property lawyers since 2001. Considerable progress has been made in recent times due to the establishment of National e-Conveyancing Development Limited (NECDL). NECDL is a company limited by shares, with the key financial stakeholders being Victorian, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australian Governments, as well as a number of Australia‚Äôs largest financial institutions. 

NECDL has been developing the purpose built electronic infrastructure, which will operate as Property Exchange Australia (PEXA). In essence, PEXA will create an electronic workspace for parties to a conveyancing transaction (subscribers and financial institutions) to electronically prepare and settlement the transaction, including the transfer of funds in accordance with the agreed adjustments and settlement statement, and to electronically lodge the documents for registration at the appropriate titles office. 

Current Issues

The first release of PEXA occurred in 2013, which enables financial institutions to perform single party transaction, such as new mortgages, mortgage discharges and refinancing. 

The second release of PEXA is scheduled for late 2014 and will enable solicitors and conveyancers to also take part in the exchange. At this point, settlements, transfers, notices and caveats involving multiple parties, will be able to be managed electronically.  

Electing to use PEXA for a conveyancing transaction will alter the settlement process as follow: 
  1. a formalised client identification process is required, whereby a client will be required to attend their lawyers or conveyancers office to have their identity verified; 
  2. a facility is available whereby the subscriber can electronically sign the data on behalf of their client. In order to sign on behalf a client, a client authorisation form is required and the requirements in the Model Participation Rules must be adhered to; 
  3. settlement monies can be provided electronically. Electronic funds will be regulated by the Reserve Bank and/or the Australian Securities and Investments Commission; 
  4. a hard copy of the certificate of title will no longer exist in certain circumstances, the primary document will be an electronic title; and 
  5. lawyers, licensed conveyancers, financial institutions and government authorities must be recognised by the system as a subscriber, whilst settlement clerks will have a more limited role in the conveyancing process. 
E-conveyancing will result in a considerable change to the current conveyancing practices. To operate in the world of electronic conveyancing, subscribers should check that their software providers will be compatible with PEXA, in-house training of staff will be required to ensure a smooth transition period and forms and processes used in conveyancing will need to be amended.
 
Published April 2014

For further advice or assistance

Contact Jamie McCallum on 5337 0253 or jmccallum@nevetts.com.au

The information in this publication or on this website is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for individual advice about your particular circumstances.
The information on this website is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for individual advice about your particular circumstances. Nevett Ford do not warrant that information contained in links to third party sites are correct and accept no responsibility for the accuracy and reliability or any other matter in relation to a third party site.