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Conveyancer or Lawyer?

Why you should choose a Lawyer for your Sale or Purchase

Conveyancing (the process of transferring land from a buyer to a seller), can be completed by either a conveyancer or a Lawyer/Solicitor. Whether you’re buying or selling a home, you’ll require conveyancing work to be completed in order to reach settlement.

Conveyancing is a highly specialised field, involving the preparation and lodgement of necessary documentation, liaison with federal and local government entities and complex taxation matters. With little room for error and significant amounts of money involved in each transaction, it is important to find a professional that you can trust.

To help you complete the conveyancing process, you can employ either a Lawyer or a Conveyancer. If you’ve never used either before, it can be difficult to know the key differences between the two professions, and the expertise that they can offer you throughout the conveyancing process. Read on to find the key differences in the level of training, experience, and knowledge held by Lawyers and Conveyancers.

Education

All Lawyers must have completed study at the tertiary level to obtain a Bachelor of Laws, and have undertaken additional study and supervision to be admitted to practice law in their state or territory. Lawyers who practice conveyancing are legally trained and educated, with specific knowledge and experience in property law.

A Conveyancer will hold a relevant diploma from TAFE or a tertiary institution. They are educated in the rules, regulations and legal paperwork that need to be completed to transfer the ownership of property, but they do not hold a law degree.

Holistic Knowledge

Vary rarely do conveyancing transactions only involve issues of property law. To be admitted to practice, a Lawyer must have extensive knowledge of all areas involved in legal practice. This means that your Lawyer can advise on other common areas of law surrounding the purchase or sale of a property.

Other common areas of law involved in property transactions include:

  • Divorce and Family Law: A Lawyer can take into account aspects of your divorce settlement or spousal separation when completing your conveyancing;
  • Powers of Attorney: If you wish to sell or purchase a home on behalf of family member or loved one with diminished capacity, a Lawyer can advise on the requirements of a valid Power of Attorney; 
  • Litigation: If a transaction becomes subject to a court proceeding for any reason,  a Lawyer can also represent you in a legal or property dispute, ensuring that your rights are protected. In contrast, a Conveyancer would need to refer the matter to a legal practitioner.
  • Commercial Law: If you wish to purchase a property using an entity such as a trust, or you are selling a property  that is owned by a trust or other structure, a Lawyer can confidently advise you of the implications of this and provide advice accordingly.

A Conveyancer’s knowledge is restricted to the process of conveyancing. This means that a Conveyancer cannot legally advise you on any other issue of law or problem that falls outside the realm of a standard property transaction. A Lawyer's extensive expertise means that they can deal with your transaction holistically, and solve any related issues without the need for an expensive off-site referral.

Protection

All Australian Lawyers are governed by strict ethical and professional duties. A Lawyer'’s fundamental (and legally enforceable) duties include; acting in the best interests of a client, storing sensitive information and delivering legal services competently, diligently, and in a timely manner.

In comparison, Conveyancers have minimal ethical and professional obligations toward their clients, leaving you vulnerable if things go wrong. Lawyers are required to hold professional insurance, and are subject to the Legal Services Commission. If you have lost money or property held in trust by a lawyer, you can make a compensation claim against the Fidelity Fund of the Legal Services Commission. These compensation avenues and this added layer of professional protection, is not afforded to the clients of Conveyancers.

Changes in Legislation

Property laws are subject to constant change. If your conveyancing professional does not have a holistic understanding of the law and how these changes may impact your settlement, your transaction could be subject to significant delays, and you stand to lose a considerable amount of money.

In order to hold a practicing certificate, solicitors are subject to strict requirements in regards to continued education and professional development. This means that your solicitor is legally required to complete ongoing education to demonstrate their ability to remain current on the law. Conveyancers are not subject to these necessary and client-focused requirements.

These key differences are vital to consider when deciding whether to proceed with a solicitor or conveyancer. For peace of mind, extensive experience and specialised knowledge in conveyancing transactions, contact our in-house solicitors at Shield Partners for advice. 
 

Narissa Thompson - Lawyer

p: (03) 9521 4338 e: nthompson@shieldpartners.com.au

66 Greville Street, Prahran, Vic, 3181

 

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