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Law Society welcomes ‘timely’ conveyancing report

12 Apr 2024 / law society Print

Law Society welcomes ‘timely’ conveyancing report

The Law Society has welcomed a report on conveyancing reform published by the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) yesterday (11 April).

The organisation said that the LSRA report had reiterated its own call for “long overdue” reform of the current system for the benefit of consumers.

The President of the Law Society Barry MacCarthy said that delays in buying and selling property were not only costly and frustrating to consumers, but were also making the housing crisis worse.

Guide for consumers

“The Law Society has long advocated the need for reform of Ireland’s overly complex conveyancing system to bring about a more efficient and transparent process for consumers,” he said.

The organisation says that there can be up to 15 parties involved in a transaction to buy and sell a house.

Barry MacCarthy continued: “This LSRA report highlights the need for significant systemic reform of conveyancing, which echoes the Law Society’s views that this reform is long overdue.

"This report is especially timely as the Law Society and Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland will soon publish a new guide to help consumers understand every step of the process involved in selling a house to speed up the sale.

“In submissions and meetings with relevant Government departments in recent years, the Law Society has recommended that much-needed conveyancing reforms must be pursued with broader policy goals in mind – including reforms to promote efficiency in all transactions and overall movement towards e-conveyancing.”


The Law Society president called for an all-of-government approach to conveyancing reform to reduce delays for consumers, and outlined six recommendations that the organisation had put forward in submissions:

  • Taking up title deeds:  adherence to the Certificate of Title system’s agreed terms and timelines by all banks and financial institutions operating in the Republic of Ireland,
  • Planning reform: creating the concept in law of an established non-conforming development,
  • Adoption by all local authorities of digitised and standardised forms and reasonable fees, as well as turnaround times for ‘in charge’ letters,
  • Modernisation and digitisation in areas such as e-signatures, statutory declarations, and statements of truth,
  • The roll-out of a central document-management system at the Land Registry, and
  • A review of the impact and delays caused by property taxes.

Eleanor McKiernan (Chair of the Law Society's Conveyancing Committee) said: “Changes to legislation are needed to facilitate new approaches like e-signatures and e-conveyancing, but this will take time, which is why we are also looking at other areas, such as planning law, the use of statements of truth, the removal of any barriers to the speedy release of title deeds and redemption figures, and a more uniform method of requesting letters regarding roads from local authorities."

On planning law, she said that consideration should be given to allowing for recognition of established non-conforming development.

McKiernan stated that this would reduce delays for consumers that arise due to the need for a solicitor to examine the planning history of a property dating back almost 60 years.

‘Increased transparency’

“The Law Society is fully supportive of collaborative efforts to embrace the global trend towards e-conveyancing. All documents should be readily available online from the relevant authority, and documentation should be accessible through a single portal,” McKiernan continued.

“Increased transparency and accessibility of Government authorities responsible for providing the necessary documentation for real property transactions would promote a frictionless property market, represent a net gain for the Irish economy, and could potentially help alleviate the current residential housing crisis.

“Digitisation of the conveyancing system will help speed up and simplify the process for people who are buying or selling property and modernise the system to reflect today’s society,” she added.

The Conveyancing Committee chair said that while technological advancements in the conveyancing process would take time, investment, and long-term commitment, the benefit of increased reliance on digital technology to consumers was clear.

“The Law Society will continue to work with Government, the LSRA and other stakeholders towards our shared goal of improving the conveyancing process for consumers," she concluded.

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