The year that was 2006

Casting my eye over the 300 or so stories published in the GhostDigest during 2006, I see reflected a dynamic, vibrant conveyancing profession with no shortage of news, debate and activity.

Perhaps the biggest story of note was the non Deeds Office strike planned for November, which was averted when an offer was accepted by the Public Servants' Association. Clearance difficulties, in which Harry Friedland describes his difficulties in getting rates clearance certificates from the Municipality of Cape Town, also raised much comment.

Clampdown I and Clampdown II saw the practical effects of Section 47 of the the Sectional Titles Amendment Act 7 of 2005 being debated, while Application of Section 4(1)(b) set the cat among the pigeons when it was submitted that the provisions of section 4(1)(b) of the Deeds Registries Act 47 of 1937 are being misused and abused.

Sectional title articles such as EUAs depicted on sectional plans, Rates anomalies and Phased mortgages on the difficulties of registering phased sectional title developments were also popular.

The Practice management section covered articles on BEE such as To BEE or not to BEE and the need for attorneys to have not only theoretical but also practical experience of bookkeeping in Practical Bookkeeping.

A new page this year, and one which has been very successful, is the Links page, on which over 50 legal firms have placed hyperlinks to their own websites, and which continues to grow healthily.

The Law Reports category remains popular with cases this year covering fulfilment of suspensive conditions in a bond, guarantees, cancellation of agreements of sale and a clarification of the rules for claiming compensation for useful improvements to leased premises.

Turning to the International category, an article that stands out is Conveyancing Confidential, in which a "law-talking guy" blogs about the good, the bad and the dangerously incompetent.

Two big stories were covered in the E-Conveyancing category: the first concerned the roll-out of e-conveyancing in England in which it is envisaged that all conveyancing in the UK and Wales could be carried out electronically by 2009, eradicating the need for paper documents, speeding up the process and enabling solicitors to find hold-ups in chains - See E-Conveyancing by 2009 and the related stories. In Ireland the Reform group outlined proposals aimed at developing an electronic system for the transfer of the ownership of property there.

The IT and the Lawyer category, although a bit of a sleeper, did yield the interesting article The best and the worst, in which some 50 of England's law firm websites were analysed ranging from the excellent to the bizarre and the downright awful.

A number of people contributed this year and the many comments and articles by Thabo Nqhome such as Section 45(bis) - applied and Change of name of trusts - a reply stand out.

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