Shape of the Future

The Society’s working party on the future of conveyancing was set up a year ago, and recently surveyed practitioners’ opinions on priorities for action. What has it achieved to date? The Journal questions the convener.


ROSS MacKAY, Convener, Future of Conveyancing Working Party

What stage has the working party reached?

We have had quite a number of topics under discussion, some of which are well advanced. It’s fair to say that what members were looking for in the questionnaire was standard missives, standardised documentation, and increasing the role and profile of solicitors’ property centres, and these are all things we are working on.

Is a national standard missive in the pipeline, and what will be the benefits?

We identified right away that now is the time to move to a Scottish standard missive. We have a sub-group with representatives from all the current standard missive groups, who are using the Combined Standard Clauses as their basic template, and we’re hopeful that will bear fruit, perhaps by the end of the year if that’s not too optimistic. Standard missives have already hugely enhanced the conveyancing process. If one strips out the issues of funding, the process of exchanging missives to conclude a contract is now much more straightforward.

It’s much easier to explain to clients what missives are, providing them with the clients’ guide at an early stage. The next thing is a set of national missives, because there are what we may call cross-border transactions where someone from one area is buying in another, and agents may be familiar with their own set but unfamiliar with the local set – things can be missed and it doesn’t assist the process.

Published in the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland.

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