Leading professional bodies in the conveyancing profession have joined forces to form a new taskforce that will agree and lead changes to the homebuying and selling process.
The ‘Conveyancing Task Force’, which has been two years in the making and has formal terms of reference, comprises Chancery Lane, Society of Licensed Conveyancers, Conveyancing Association, CILEx and Bold Legal Group.
The task force will push for “reform and enhancement” of the property transfer process for the benefit of consumers and lawyers alike.
Members of the task force have already released three documents to its members relating to working practices during the pandemic and the end of the stamp duty holiday at the end of March.
These documents provide clarity and a consistent approach for conveyancers and their clients in these unusual times, and in particular in the event that matters do not complete in time to benefit from the SDLT holiday.
Simon Law, chair of the Society of Licensed Conveyancers, has been appointed chair of the new taskforce.
Law said: “These are challenging times for the conveyancing profession, with the ongoing effects of Covid and an increasing move to working electronically. Conveyancing Task Force members have worked well together within the conveyancing profession for many years and it makes eminent sense that all five organisations come together under the Conveyancing Task Force banner to help the profession manage the transition into the digital future and identify opportunities for improving the process.
“Whilst working together to formulate and agree proposals, new procedures and due diligence under our agreed terms of reference, Task Force members still remain independent and accountable to their respective organisations and memberships.
“We look forward to working constructively with all other parties involved in the home buying and selling process and in particular the Home Buying and Selling Group in which all Conveyancing Task Force members currently participate.”
The taskforce will soon have a dedicated website, which will be unveiled this spring.
Law Society of England and Wales president David Greene commented: “The combination of the stamp duty land tax holiday and working from home has put conveyancing and those who practise it under enormous strain and we do not know what will happen in the market once the concession ends on 31 March.
“We do know that the pandemic and the need for social distancing has accelerated the appetite for using digital solutions in parts of the transaction process, particularly for ID and execution and electronic and/or digital signing.
“Institutional members of what is now the Conveyancing Task Force have been working informally together for some time where there are areas of shared interest to help consumers and practitioners both in the pandemic and for the future.
“The new arrangements for the Task Force will help formalise joint working to enable co-operation to take place effectively without compromising the independence of each organisation.
“Chains of transactions mean that it is obviously helpful for all parties to be working in a similar fashion as we move forward into the digital future.
“We look forward to continuing to work constructively with other members of the Task Force and inputting our views to the Home Buying and Selling Group.”