The Law Society of Scotland is to invite tenders for the potential development of a digital property portal which would allow solicitors to process conveyancing transactions online.

The tender process, if successful, marks the first step towards the creation of a new cloud-based system which would allow solicitors to exchange and sign off property contracts as well as being designed in such a way that it can, in the future, interact with other organisations involved in the conveyancing process, such as searching agencies, Registers of Scotland and lenders.

Alistair Morris, president of the Law Society of Scotland, 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 project sits in tandem with a Scottish Government initiative, announced on 10 March 2015, to set up a 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. Ross Mackay, convener of the Law Society’s Property Law Committee and Stewart Brymer from the Society’s Future of Conveyancing Working Party have both been invited to join the taskforce which is due to report to the Scottish Government by July 2015

Morris said: “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.”

The deadline for tender submissions is 29 April 2015, with a decision expected by 8th June. For further information about the tender process see http://www.lawscot.org.uk/media/473312/law-society-of-scotland-digital-tender-document.pdf

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