What is e-conveyancing?

Electronic conveyancing (or e-conveyancing) describes the process of performing settlements online, removing the need to physically attend settlements. E-conveyancing has been on the national agenda for some time and, after a long wait, the first roll out is expected to occur in the second half of 2013. Once the system is fully operational, it will be possible to conduct settlements, including lodgement of all relevant dealings, online.

E-conveyancing will make use of paperless titles and will incorporate Landgate’s Verification of Identity Practice. It is envisaged that lawyers and settlement agents will be required to verify their client’s identity at the beginning of the transaction, and then obtain an authority to conduct the settlement. This may potentially reduce the need to arrange for physical execution of transfer documents.

E-Conveyancing will be implemented gradually via a series of staged releases, allowing time for users to become accustomed to the new system. The first rollout, which is expected to occur in the second half of 2013, will be for stand-alone mortgages only. There will be further releases in 2014 enabling multiple parties to conduct settlements and transfers.

Some amendments to the Landgate Manual and existing laws may be required to accommodate changes to the prevailing settlement process. However, the law and the fundamental principles applying under the Torrens System will remain unchanged.

Following the introduction of e-Conveyancing, it will likely remain possible to conduct a settlement in the traditional manner. In New Zealand, e-conveyancing was introduced gradually starting in the late 90s and became compulsory from February 2009.

What is ‘PEXA’?

PEXA stands for ‘Property Exchange Australia’. PEXA is a web-based channel which will facilitate the preparation and settlement of e-conveyancing transactions, including the electronic lodgement of Landgate documents (and equivalent State or Territory land registry documents). PEXA will be a secure site; only registered subscribers such as lawyers, conveyancers and financial institutions will be able to use the system.

Benefits of e-conveyancing

Some benefits of e-Conveyancing are:

  • The ability to conduct any number of settlements at the same time.
  • Reduction in costly manual processes and paperwork.
  • Greater transparency with parties able to see the status of documents in the transaction.
  • Reduced failure rate – using online pre-lodgement verification enables parties to verify information before proceeding to settlement.
  • Obtaining client authority ahead of time may reduce the need to arrange execution of transfer documents.
  • Efficiency –settlement and lodgement will occur at the same time.