New legislation on conveyancing measures gazetted on 8 July 2011
08 JUL 2011
8 Jul 2011 Posted in Press releases
- On 11 April 2011, Parliament passed the Conveyancing (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill. This Bill amended the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act and the Legal Profession Act to introduce new measures to better protect clients’ conveyancing money against misappropriation. The legislation is gazetted on 8 July 2011, and the new conveyancing measures will be implemented on 1 August 2011.
Key features of the new measures
- The key features of the measures are:
- Lawyers will no longer be allowed to receive and hold conveyancing money in their normal client accounts. A breach of this prohibition will result in a fine of up to $50,000 and/or an imprisonment term of up to three years.
- Conveyancing money can only be held by lawyers in three ways:
- In a new type of account known as a Conveyancing Account. This account is distinct and separate from the normal client account, and can only be opened with Appointed Banks designated by the Minister for Law. CPF money will be stake-held in a Conveyancing (CPF) Account.
- Through the Singapore Academy of Law’s (SAL) new Conveyancing Money Service.
- For complex transactions, lawyers can receive and hold conveyancing money under escrow agreements between both buyers and sellers’ lawyers.
- Buyers or sellers who wish to place money in Conveyancing Accounts have to add the suffix, “-CVY”, to the payee name on their cheque/cashier’s order – “<Name of law firm>-CVY”. Money placed with SAL must be made payable to “Singapore Academy of Law”.
- Withdrawal or pay-out of money from Conveyancing Accounts will require two-party authorisation. Typically, the counter-signatory will be the lawyer representing the other party in the conveyancing transaction.
- The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has also set up an electronic Payment Instructions service (ePI) to provide an efficient and secure electronic environment for lawyers to initiate and counter-sign payment instructions, and for the Appointed Banks and SAL to retrieve and process these payment instructions.
Preparation for lawyers
- To prepare lawyers for the new measures, two pilot trials were conducted from April to August 2010, and from November 2010 to February 2011. The Law Society has also commenced a series of briefing sessions on the new measures for conveyancing lawyers and their staff.
- Law firms that wish to hold conveyancing money in Conveyancing Accounts from 1 August 2011 are reminded to open a Conveyancing Account with one or more of the Appointed Banks before 1 August 2011. The banks listed below have been appointed with effect from 1 August 2011:
- Bank of China Limited
- DBS Bank Limited
- Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited
- The Bank of East Asia, Limited, and
- United Overseas Bank Limited.
- SLA also has a service to remind law firms to open their Conveyancing Accounts early, and further provides an opportunity for lawyers to use the ePI to familiarise themselves with the system, and to resolve any technical issues.
Information on new measures
- To help members of the public understand the new conveyancing measures, posters will be displayed at Community Clubs and Residents’ Committees’ notice-boards. Pamphlets on the new measures will be distributed via the relevant agencies, such as the Law Society, SAL and Association of Banks in Singapore.
- The public can find out more about the new measures and download a copy of the pamphlet from the one-stop portal, https://www.mlaw.gov.sg/about-us/what-we-do/conveyancing/, or call the conveyancing measures hotline at 68381 CVY (6838 1289).
Last updated on 25 Nov 2012