DIY legal documents for conveyancing transactions — time for a reality check

This post is part of an on-going series. Please read the following earlier posts for context:

  1. DIY legal documents for conveyancing transactions — can we really do it without lawyers?
  2. DIY legal documents for conveyancing transactions — why some people think you don’t need lawyers in a sale and purchase of property.
  3. DIY legal documents for conveyancing transactions — understanding the basics of a sale and purchase property.
  4. DIY legal documents for conveyancing transactions — sale and purchase and loan agreements.

The earlier posts provided a very quick tour of what’s involved in a basic sale and purchase of property.

We had an ideal earlier about conveyancing being essentially about swapping the keys for money — but what is the reality?

The ideal from an earlier post:
The ideal from an earlier post: “Let’s swap! Who needs lawyers anyway?”

The reality is that one party has money (or access to some money and a big bank loan) and wants to buy a house. Another party owns the house and wants to sell it for the right price. The parties then enter a maze.

The reality:
The reality: “Wait, what’s going on?”

You’ll notice that what happens in this maze is that nothing gets across.

The money goes in but gets stuck in the middle — that’s what happens to a lot of conveyancing transactions.

So the reality of a conveyancing transaction and the possibility of completing a sale and purchase of property without a lawyer is — forget it.

Forget about non-lawyers handling conveyancing matters — even lawyers mess up. The majority of negligence cases that go to the Bar Council are in relation to conveyancing transactions.

If even non-conveyancing lawyers (such as criminal or corporate lawyers who aren’t experienced in conveyancing) wouldn’t be able to conduct a sale and purchase transaction from start to finish, it’s unreasonable to expect non-lawyers to be able to do so.

It’s complicated. It’s very dangerous because for most people, purchasing a property is a major investment — probably the biggest investment most people will make in their lives.

A buyer is risking a lot of money to cover the down payment for a property, and the last thing a buyer would want is to risk the transaction getting stuck without a solution, or with a solution which will take a long time to happen.

In reality, and based on the system which exists at the moment, a conveyancing transaction really is too dangerous and complicated to be conducted without a conveyancing lawyer — but it shouldn’t be.

As mentioned at the beginning of the series, the CALR which was launched at the event in which this presentation took place, would be ideating solutions to the complications which currently exist in the ecosystem in which a conveyancing transaction exists.

Having run through a basic conveyancing process — as I said, before you can ideate the future, you must understand the present — in the next (and final) post in the series, I will set out some of my ideas for improvements which could possibly enable non-lawyers to conduct their own conveyancing transactions.

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