Digital move planned for property transactions

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Solicitors could soon be signing off on property contracts online under new plans.

The Law Society of Scotland has invited tenders for the potential development of a digital property portal which would allow solicitors to process conveyancing transactions on a new cloud-based system.

If successful, it would also allow for interaction with other organisations involved in the process, such as searching agencies, lenders and Registers of Scotland.

The project sits in tandem with a Scottish Government initiative announced last month to set up a taskforce looking at the wider applications of digital services for Scottish land and property. It will be led by the Keeper of Registers of Scotland, and is due to report to the Scottish Government by July 2015.

The president of the Law Society of Scotland, Alistair Morris, said: “It is a very exciting prospect, however we are at the very earliest stage.

“New legislation which permits solicitors to use electronic signatures on documents and the launch of the Law Society digital Smartcard, which all solicitors will have by the end of this year, mean the opportunity is there to develop an online service which could revolutionise the way property solicitors work, helping to speed up processes as well as providing an accurate and fully accountable system, which benefits solicitors and their clients.

“We can see huge potential benefits in having a digital one-stop-shop for conveyancing and there is certainly appetite for this among the profession and others.

“However we want to be sure that the group invited to tender can come up with a cost-effective online solution which will work for solicitors and others involved in the property sector before we make a decision on how to progress.”

A tender panel is due to be appointed by May 2015.

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