What are the differences between a Lawyer and Conveyancer?

When you’re going through the process of buying a house, you’ll need the legal services of a professional who can help you with the property transfer.

Both lawyers and conveyancers are the right people for the job as they’ll help in preparing the documentation required for property settlement.

However, people often use both terms interchangeably. It’s not always easy to distinguish between the services offered by them, but we’ve compiled the differences for you.

Listed below are the differences between a lawyer and conveyancer in Queensland and other states.

What are the differences between a Lawyer and Conveyancer

  1. So what does a lawyer do?
  2. What does a conveyancer do?
  3. But what are the laws in Queensland?
  4. What about the other Australian States?
  5. Which one Should You Hire?
  6. Any other things to consider?
  7. In short, the main differences are?
  8. What about if my transaction is complex or something goes wrong?

1. So what does a Lawyer do?

A lawyer must hold a bachelor’s degree in law and still be practising their legal profession. Different lawyers choose different areas of practice, for example, a bankruptcy lawyer specialises in bankruptcy cases, criminal lawyers deal with crimes and so on.

All in all, a lawyer can specialise in different capacities.

lawyer-or-conveyancer

Different lawyers choose different areas of practice, for example, a bankruptcy lawyer specialises in bankruptcy cases, criminal lawyers deal with crimes and so on.

2. What does a conveyancer do?

A conveyancer, on the other hand, is very helpful in executing property transactions. They are legal professionals who specialise in conveyancing. According to the 1992 legislation, non-lawyers are authorised to carry out legal work related to a real estate transaction.

lawyer-or-conveyancer

Conveyancers are required to do a one-year diploma, along with another year of supervised training.

They usually do the following tasks:

·       Completion of documentation; its lodgment,

·       Making inquiries about the title and zoning 

·       Preparation of settlement papers

A conveyancing lawyer is allowed to carry out all the activities related to property transaction as long as they do not breach anything mentioned in the Conveyancers Act 2006.

3. But what are the laws in Queensland?

Unlike other states, in Queensland, it is not legal for a licensed conveyancer to have their own firm. In fact, all the conveyancing work is managed and executed by a law firm. There are a number of law firms in Queensland that have started a specific conveyancing sector – which is still part of their law firms and treated as such. These firms are required to abide by the regulations laid out by the Legal Profession Act of their relevant law society.

lawyer-vs-conveyancer

These law firms can hire both a paralegal and licensed conveyancer under the supervision of a lawyer.

 

All in all, in Queensland, it doesn’t matter if you are using the services of a lawyer or a conveyancer, as they are grouped together. However, a law firm has to hold the latest practising certificate, along with professional indemnity insurance.

4. What about the other Australian States?

In most other states, such as Tasmania, Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, or New South Wales, it is either a licensed conveyancer or a lawyer who offers conveyancing services.

lawyer-or-conveyancer

These states allow a licensed conveyancer to provide legal advice and do the documentation within the boundaries of law associated with conveyancing.

It is important to understand, however, that he or she cannot give any advice that is not related to conveyancing.

5. Which one Should You Hire?

When it comes to choosing between a lawyer and conveyancer for a real estate transaction, keep your budget in mind. In addition to that, the size and complexity of the transaction also matter, along with the need to have further representation.

The conveyancing process varies from one state to another in terms of time requirements, fees, regulations, forms, local laws, jargon, and government departments.

Every state follows similar steps, but the details vary.

However, every conveyancing and law firm is required to meet the minimum professional standards and regulations of the local legal entities. It is crucial to understand that law firms maintain higher ethical standards compared to conveyancing firms and have greater penalties in case of non-compliance.

6. Any other things to consider?

Before hiring a legal professional, the following are certain things to keep in mind so you can make a well-informed decision:

  • Nobody offers a legal service for free. Therefore, beware of those who do offer you free services
  • A reasonable price will have to be paid in order to hire the services of a reliable professional. They earn their reputation through years of experience in the market and do not offer any incentives or tempting offers to hire a client
  • Similarly, be careful about giveaways. A fairly new firm tries to attract people by offering giveaways, but often the quality of service is crucial to the successful execution of property transaction.
  • Conveyancers are the service providers. They get paid for providing their professional services. Sometimes, people need immediate services and conveyancing companies might be up for it, but it may not be realistic, given the amount of paperwork required to execute a real estate transaction.

Make sure you keep all these factors in mind when choosing a conveyancer as it will help you execute the transaction smoothly.

7. In short, the main differences are?

Lawyers have a general knowledge in all legal aspects while conveyancers specialised to property. This is what creates the price difference between the two, as for a lawyer you’re getting further knowledge within the legal field. The main reason people hire a conveyancer is that they’re often cheaper than a lawyer. So those with a lower budget will lean towards this option.

lawyer-or-conveyancer

Conveyancers are required to do a one-year diploma, along with another year of supervised training.

Hiring a conveyancer may be suitable if the property value is low, the budget is tight or the transaction straightforward.

However keep in mind that due to the lower price means less time is on offer from the conveyancer, so you may not get the same level of service as you would from a lawyer.

8. What about if my transaction is complex or something goes wrong?

In this case, if something goes wrong with the transaction and the situation becomes too complex, a conveyancer will then refer you on to a lawyer.

This means you’ll have to pay extra and it may end up being a more costly approach.

The benefit of a lawyer is that they have extensive legal knowledge so will be able to help you if the situation begins to become complex. This can be caused due to subdivision or off the plan purchases.

Speak to our team at Hunter Galloway about the options available.