eConveyancing regulatory guideline released
In Victoria, all conveyancing transactions must take place electronically, with some minor exceptions.
This guide sets out our specific expectations of you and your practice when conducting electronic conveyancing (eConveyancing).
Your practice must be proactive in meeting your obligations under the eConveyancing framework. This includes obligations relating to verification of identity and cyber security as set by the:
- Australian Registrars’ National Electronic Conveyancing Council (ARNECC) and;
- Electronic lodgment network operators (ELNOs).
Conduct contrary to these obligations could be professional misconduct or unsatisfactory professional conduct.
Importantly, the guideline states:
- That the VLSB+C has determined that for Victoria, eConveyancing funds are best categorised as general trust money under the Uniform Law and therefore they must be placed in a general trust account.
- When using a third party law practice to conduct eConveyancing, the third party law practice must be undertaking the legal services in relation to the client’s transaction as required by section 129 of the Uniform Law. Legal services would include perusal, checking and processing of the documentation for settlement and direct liaison with the client. The third party law practice cannot be used only for access to their trust account.
- As of 1 February 2020, Land Use Victoria is no longer accepting cheques as a method of payment for paper lodgements, and this includes lawyers’ and conveyancers’ trust or office account cheques. Their suggested methods of payment – direct debit for regular customers, and credit or debit card payments for one-off payments – are not in contravention of the Rules as the VLSB+C considers these methods to be a form of EFT.
- We have determined that non-legal employees of law practices in Victoria will be permitted to sign registry instruments, provided they are appropriately supervised by the responsible principal as set out in the guideline.
Thank you to the lawyers who provided feedback on our regulatory guidance when it was in draft form. You can download the regulatory guideline from our website.