Conveyancing is legal work

Dr Moritz Bobbert begins by asking what legal work is and concludes that attorneys "perform legal work when they use their legal knowledge, their training as lawyers and their experience and skills in performing that work" [editor's translation]. He maintains that attorneys need to apply legal rules and concepts to the particular circumstances presented by their clients - that is the essence of legal work.

The author then asks what comprises conveyancing. He understands it to be much more than mechanically completing documents, although he concedes that this is all that happens under certain circumstances. Conveyancers cannot practice without a thorough knowledge of the common law - especially the law of things.

Conveyancers have to know the different branches of private law as well as the capita selecta of mercantile law. Income tax also falls under their purview as well as an in-depth knowledge of the Deeds Registries Act 47 of 1947. They also have to know other acts, including the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986 and new legislation that is constantly been enacted - such as the Development Facilitation Act 67 of 1995.

Our present system of land registration works well and the pivotal role of conveyancers cannot be over emphasized. Not only are they solely responsible for the description of both natural and juristic persons, they also have to ensure that the facts that appear in documents are correct.

Conveyancing is therefore a highly specialised profession that should only be performed by attorneys with the necessary legal education and background - including having passed conveyancing exams.

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