Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has asked the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) to prepare and submit a report on the creation of a new profession of conveyancer.
The move is being triggered under section 34 of the Legal Services Regulation Act, which makes specific provision to address this remaining area of legal-services reform.
Minister McEntee said: “Under ‘Justice Plan 2021’, I am fully committed to reducing legal costs and reforming legal services.
“My request to the Legal Services Regulatory Authority to report on the creation of a new profession of conveyancer is an important step in continuing the process of legal-services reform, and providing more options and choice to the users of legal services.
“It also supports my objective to reduce legal costs for consumers and businesses.”
The LSRA is being asked to consider the potential of digital technology to reduce the cost and the time in which it takes to carry out a conveyance.
Other jurisdictions, such as England and Wales, Scotland, most Australian states and New Zealand, have professional conveyancers.
The LSRA will submit its report to the Minister within 18 months.
Minister McEntee thanked Dr Don Thornhill, the LSRA chair, and the other LSRA members for agreeing to take on this additional task.he also encouraged the public to participate in the public consultations that will be announced by the LSRA in due course.
Competition Authority report
The introduction of a new profession of conveyancer is one of the few remaining recommendations on legal services reform made by the Competition Authority in 2006.
The LSRA is expected to use that 2006 report as a context for stakeholder mapping and to analyse comparable international models.
An economic analysis will also be carried out to examine how Ireland compares with other jurisdictions in terms of the cost and speed of conveyancing, particularly for domestic home purchases.
Intervening developments of relevance, including policy, law, regulation and conveyancing technologies will also be weighed up, including full consideration of how digital tools could transform the manner, cost and speed of carrying out a conveyance.
The regulation of a new profession of conveyancer, and protections for consumers, will also be included within the scope of the report.