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30 July 2016 Posted by 


No more relying on paper documents

By Justin Dowd

IT is certainly true that technology is completely changing the way we live our lives and in particular, how we do business.

Nowhere is this truer than in the legal world and the business environment in which we operate. 

The changes can be daunting but they are here to stay and to prosper in business, as well as our personal lives we need to embrace the changes and use them for our advantage.

One of the exciting changes in the world of legal technology is in the way in which properties are bought and sold, known as conveyancing.

We are entering the world of electronic conveyancing, where the traditional reliance on paper documents, physical meetings to exchange bank cheques and to handover keys to the property, is rapidly being overtaken by contemporaneous electronic transactions coordinated from a laptop.

In a world where there are estimated to be 4.3billion email accounts, the march to electronic legal practice is not surprising.

In the period of the 1990's and 2000's, the development of the internet, the deregulation of the financial markets and increasing competition among lenders drove a move to modernise practices surrounding property dealings and lending policies.

In 2010, the Australian Government established the National Electronic Conveyancing System (NECS), designed to deliver a single (national not state-based, as previously) online facility for conveyancing.

The system will be more efficient, faster, more secure and ultimately cheaper than the paper-based system. It will also make banking transactions easier and the benefits will flow through to all users of the system.

Other benefits will include:

• The ability to link "chains" of settlements that are dependent upon each other.
• Using integrated checks against Title registers to guarantee the ownership of properties.
• Paying fees, duties and taxes at settlement without cheques or mail delays.
• Instantaneous registration of changes of ownership.

As NECS is implemented, legal practitioners will adapt their systems to be able to use NECS. This will make the service available through solicitors, who are being trained progressively in the NECS system.

They will then be licensed to use the system. This is a protection for clients that is being built into the NECS system. The Law Society of NSW had been closely involved in the development of NECS, as had the Law Council of Australia, to ensure a smooth transition for the users of the system.

The financial sector is also closely involved with the development and introduction of NECS as banks are welcoming the additional efficiency and simplicity of the new scheme.

It is an exciting innovation for everyone who will be buying, selling or dealing with properties in the future

Watts McCray is proud to be an early participant in the NECS scheme as it offers a more secure, faster and cheaper method of conveyancing for our clients.

Justin Dowd is a partner at Watts McCray Lawyers. Visit:





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