Marlise Hoops

Why should conveyancing work be reserved for qualified conveyancers?

A conveyancer is a duly qualified and admitted attorney who passed an additional Conveyancing exam and was formally admitted as a Conveyancer in the High Court.

Therefore he/she has knowledge of the full scope of the law with the result that they can deal effectively with any legal and administrative problems that can occur whilst a transaction is ongoing.

The Rules of the Profession demand that the conveyancer must account to all parties, take full responsibility of the finances relating to the transfer and ensuring that all relevant parties receive payment on date of registration and in addition the Fidelity Fund protects the public against the theft of trust monies by a conveyancer.

A newly formed company (namely, Proxi Smart Services) launched a High Court application in terms of which they want to provide certain conveyancing services which is being attended to by qualified conveyancers and sought to bring a distinction between work that can be done by a conveyancer and work that does not need to be done by a conveyancer.

This would result in certain conveyancing services being attended to by persons that are not qualified as officers of Court without the necessary safeguards associated with the current system.

Currently there are 14 Respondents to the case including the Law Society of South Africa that opposes the application and contends firstly that it is impossible to legislate for every conveyancing procedure and that the conveyancing practise is not codified in the Deeds Registries Act that regulates conveyancing.

Secondly, there is no ‘typical’ transfer and conveyancers deals with a great variety of transactions in which vast legal and administrative problems can and do occur on a daily basis.

Thirdly, the conveyancer would be breaching the rules relating to the sharing of fees, anti-touting and direct marketing.

Fourthly, the conveyancer would contravene the Competition Act in that there would exist a horizontal practice.

They also contend that conveyancing is regarded as professional work and in the public’s interest should continue to remain so.

Other current respondents include the Chief Registrar of Deeds, the Justice Minister, the Attorneys Fidelity Fund and the Provincial Law Societies. The matter has been set down for hearing as a special motion in February 2018.

Greyvensteins Inc. – Property Law and Conveyancing South Africa

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