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Conveyancer v Lawyer - What's the difference?

What is the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor/lawyer?

Conveyancing can be performed by either a licensed individual – a conveyancer or a lawyer. But what is the difference between the two and why does it matter? The short answer is – legal expertise and value for money.

A licensed conveyancer can complete the ownership transfer on title and give some advice surrounding the conveyance. They do not have the property law knowledge or experience in disputes resolution of a Solicitor. They cannot advise you on any matter that requires legal advice.

Qualifications

During standard conveyancing legal issues can often arise. Only a lawyer has the qualifications, experience and level expertise required to provide you with the legal advice. When a lawyer provides advice to you it is under their insurance. This is a key difference. If  a conveyancer gives you advice it’s not covered under their insurance. Conveyancers can’t provide legal advice  and anything they say cannot be relied upon as it is outside their professional capabilities.

A solicitor has broader expertise to deal with a variety of legal matters regarding your property as well as conveyancing. In circumstances where the transaction is more complex or may require legal advice (for example, tax implications on the transaction or how the sale may be affected by family proceedings or beneficiaries under a will), a conveyancer will not be able to act.

Legal Fees

There is also a perception that a conveyancer may be cheaper than a solicitor. However, most highly qualified conveyancers charge the similar prices to lawyers. You also get greater value for money as lawyer have additional knowledge and experience. Higher professional standards are expected of lawyers.

If an issues arises and further legal advice is needed there can be a cost saving. You will get the advice faster and cheaper as it is all under one roof.

Experience

Having a conveyancing lawyer act for you can also prevent other parties from taking advantage of certain situations. Some parties knowingly take advantage of the other party and will only stop when they are challenged. Issues like this often happen closer to settlement about adjustments and damage to the property.

Lawyers have more clout to challenge and the otherside knows that you have legal representation capable of pursuing issues further. So they will be less inclined to try and take advantage of a situation if they are in the wrong when you have a lawyer acting. If you have a conveyancer in this situation they know you have to go to a lawyer to get legal advice and assert your rights. So often these problems are resolved even before they arise just because you have a lawyer acting. Lawyers are more cost-effective and faster at resolving and protecting your interests in these disputed situations. Therefore it is important to have experienced legal advisors.

Knowledge

A lawyer also has to obtain a law degree and then also complete practical legal training before they can practice as a lawyer. On average a solicitor will have undertaken between 4 to 5 years of in-depth training and education in Australian law, including property law.

For a conveyancer to be licensed to practice they undertake a much shorter Advanced Diploma of Conveyancing. A licensed conveyancer must also have completed at least 12 months of work experience under the supervision of a solicitor or fully licensed conveyancer. As a result, a licensed conveyancer has the expertise to only perform legal work to complete a conveyancing transaction.

Above all it is important that the conveyancer you engage is experienced and professional with a team that can handle your work.

At Conveyancing Depot our lawyers can provide you with comprehensive advice on your sale or purchase. We pride ourselves on delivering high quality conveyancing services. We want our clients to have peace of mind knowing that your transaction is being conducted smoothly, professionally and with minimal fuss.

To discuss our conveyancing services or to request a free quote, call us on 1300 900 440. Our friendly, experienced solicitors are ready to help you today.

Disclaimer: This article has been prepared for general information purposes and may not apply to your situation. This information should not be relied upon for legal, tax or accounting advice. Your individual circumstances will alter any legal advice given. The views expressed may not reflect the opinions, views or values of Conveyancing Depot and belong solely to the author of the content. © Conveyancing Depot Pty Ltd.

If you require legal advice specific to your situation please speak to one of our team members today.

About The Author

Sehran is the Practice Manager for Conveyancing Depot: she keeps our team happy, so they...