This is the first part of the SettleIT education series supporting practitioners to navigate the e-settlements and e-conveyancing landscape. This Article does not constitute legal advice. It is for general information purposes only.
Instructing practitioners are responsible for briefing e-lodgment Subscribers to prepare ELNO workspaces, create and digitally sign electronic documents such as registry instruments, and authorise or complete any associated financial settlement. As a result of the adoption of electronic conveyancing within Australia, Settlement Agents now described as e-lodgment Subscribers have gone digital. Here’s how they support you with e-Conveyancing.
1. e-lodgment Subscribers allow instructing practitioners like you, to devote more time communicating and building stronger relationships with their clients
Outsourcing electronic lodgments and settlements allows you to focus on advising clients professionally rather than focus on the administrative tasks of the e-lodgment.
SettleIT is a flexible solution that allows law firms, conveyancers, and financial institutions to outsource the electronic lodgment of registry documents and settlements. SettleIT’s simple to use online portal provides legal practitioners with full visibility on their matters every step of the way, as well as tools to undertake verification of identity and electronic signing.
SettleIT can be used as part of your standard processes, like taking care of administration, or when times are busy, or cover is needed. It can also be utilised to build business to handle more volume without needing to increase the head count. SettleIT provides immediate time and cost savings enabling firms to maximise efficiency and increase profit margins.
2. e-lodgment Subscribers support you to conduct Verification of Identity
The verification of identity process is integral to safeguarding you, your client and the Land Registry against identity fraud and fraudulent land transactions.
Your e-lodgment Subscriber may request you (as the instructing practitioner) conduct the verification of identity on its behalf.
To act as an Identity Agent, the Instructing Practitioner (you) must meet the requirements of an Identity Agent (reputable, competent, and insured), apply the VOI standard or conduct the VOI under reasonable steps.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made applying the VOI Standard, which requires a face-to-face office interview, challenging. Utilising remote verification technologies is an alternative solution to applying the VOI Standard for Instructing Practitioners. Practitioners must ensure however that the steps taken are reasonable and in accordance with the directions of the e-lodgment Subscriber.
Engaging SettleIT as your e-lodgment Subscriber allows you, the Instructing Practitioner, to act as an Identity Agent: applying the VOI standard or reasonable steps. These are available in SettleIT’s Settlement Pack or, alternatively, using InfoTrack’s VOI product, InfoTrackID, which has a remote verification option.
If you would prefer not to conduct the verification of identity on the Client, SettleIT, as an e-lodgment Subscriber, can conduct the VOI on them for you. You may choose SettleIT to conduct the VOI via the SettleIT dashboards. This takes another task away from you in the conveyancing transactions, allowing you to spend more time to focus on the legalities and your client’s needs.
3. e-lodgment Subscribers support you to complete the Client Authorisation Form
The Client Authorisation Form authorises the e-lodgment Subscriber to act as Representative and digitally sign registry instruments and documents on behalf of the Client in the conveyancing transaction. When an Instructing Practitioner engages an e-lodgment Subscriber to attend to an electronic lodgment or settlement, the e-lodgment Subscriber is the Representative not the Instructing Practitioner on the Client Authorisation Form. That is because ARNECC requires the Client Authorisation Form to be made directly between the e-lodgment Subscriber acting as Representative and the Client. Without a correctly completed Form, the e-lodgment Subscriber cannot act in the conveyancing transaction.
Engaging SettleIT as your e-lodgment Subscriber automatically pre-populates the correct details into the correct fields of the Client Authorisation Form. You can access this Client Authorisation Form within the SettleIT Settlement Pack in your order. Alternatively, SettleIT enables the electronic signing of the Client Authorisation Form via InfoTrack’s SignIT. You can choose this option through SettleIT’s Dashboard.
You, as the instructing practitioner are not required to sign the Client Authorisation Form unless your e-lodgment Subscriber specifically appoints you in writing to act as a Representative Agent.
If you are appointed under a written agency agreement by your e-lodgment Subscriber, you may sign the Client Authorisation Form as the Representative Agent, after the Client signs. Ideally, execution of the Client Authorisation Form occurs instantaneously with the VOI, so you can certify that reasonable steps have been taken.
ARNECC provides helpful guidance notes, including examples of correctly executed Client Authorisation Forms in the context of e-lodgment Subscribers and Instructing Practitioners.
Technology enables legal services to be delivered more quickly and more transparently. InfoTrack’s legal tech solutions reduce administration, increase efficiency and with cloud technology, enable our clients and their own clients to access services anywhere at any time. This allows practitioners to live up to client demand. If you would like to take advantage of the solutions on offer get started with InfoTrack today.