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Land Registry plans changes to land registration legislation

The means of regulating the legal professions and controlling the work they can do is also contained in the act.

The Land Registry proposals would amend the definitions of ‘conveyancer’ and the persons entitled to make electronic applications to Land Registry to be consistent with the providers who, under the Legal Services Act, are authorised to prepare conveyancing documents and make applications for land registration purposes. This will ensure the regulatory regime is consistent, maintain high conveyancing standards in the future, and allow Alternative Business Structures that enter the conveyancing market to be treated equally, under land registration secondary legislation, with other legal service providers.

Ownership of legal service providers is currently restricted to practices controlled by lawyers, but the new structures will allow others, whether individuals or bodies, to be managers or have an interest in a practice that carries on reserved legal activities, provided that practice obtains a licence. For instance, an insurance company, a supermarket owner, or a firm of surveyors or accountants could become licensed bodies. The new provisions are expected to give legal providers greater flexibility to respond to market demands, within the UK and overseas.

The introduction of the Legal Services Act 2007 and the proposed introduction of alternative business structures led Land Registry to review the existing legislation and identify changes to reflect the new regime. Alternative Business Structures will come into existence with the proposed implementation of Part 5 of the Legal Services Act in October 2011.

Marco Pierleoni, Chief Land Registrar said:

"The provision of legal services in England and Wales could change radically with the introduction of alternative business structures in October 2011. The consultation paper sets out the amendments we consider are necessary to the legislation and the processes and practices required to meet the needs of both property professionals and property owners.

Consultation is required when we are considering changes to legislation and we welcome your participation and your views."

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