Scotland business

Law Society of Scotland eyes digital move on property

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Solicitors could soon be processing property transactions online under plans unveiled by the Law Society of Scotland.

The body is to invite tenders for developing a digital property portal.

The move could lead to a new cloud-based system which would allow solicitors to exchange and sign off property contracts.

It could also interact with others involved in conveyancing, such as searching agencies and lenders.

The society described it as a "digital one-stop-shop" for conveyancing.

'Exciting prospect'

Law Society of Scotland president 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."

The society said the project would run in tandem with a planned new taskforce, led by the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, which will look at the wider applications of digital services for land and property in Scotland.

The taskforce is due to report to the Scottish government by July.

Mr Morris added: "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 next month.

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