The year that was 2007

Casting my eye over the 300 or so stories published in the GhostDigest during 2007, I see reflected a dynamic, vibrant conveyancing profession with no shortage of news, debate and activity.

The year got off to a good start with the debate which followed Allen West's article Power of Executor in which he dealt with the issue of the duty of the deeds registrar to determine whether the date of transaction entered into by the executor is subsequent to the date on which the executor was appointed by the Master of the High Court. Thabo Nqhome's contribution Power of Executor - a reply led to Dudley Lee's response Power of Executor - a reply to a reply and further debate.

A non-story would surely be Budget - 2007 in which for the first time in many years the transfer duty percentages and the thresholds at which transfer duty kick in were not changed. Transfer duty issues were looked at in Transfer duty issues - I and Transfer duty issues - II in which P S Franck illustrated the effect of the Revenue Laws Amendment Act on immovable property which is acquired by a company, a close corporation or a trust.

Could the case of Stalwo v Wary be an invitation to farmers to subdivide their farms into a thousand pieces, thereby rendering the Agricultural Land Act ineffective, asked Lizelle Kilbourn? Roelie Rossouw, Johann Strauss, Ken Mustard, Robert Krautkrämer, Corrie de Jager and Herman Botha all had their say at Stalwo more.

The Links section has grown rapidly this year and the GhostDigest now has hyperlinks to the websites of almost ninety leading attorneys' firms. Will we see the ton in 2008?

The International section was quiet with the exception of the activities of two dodgy Irish conveyancing practices being closed down in Property crisis.

The biggest story of the year was undoubtedly the implementation of the National Credit Act and its effect on conveyancing. To this end hundreds of attorneys attended Korbitec's National Credit Act Roadshow. Questions were raised and answered with NCA Q's and A's being a good starting point for one's reading.

IT and the Lawyer had few articles of note with the exception of Demise of Lawyers in which Richard Susskind controversially predicts the demise of lawyers in an IT-led future.

In E-Conveyancing a number of big stories were covered. Internationally Final Phase covered New Zealand's implementation of e-conveyancing, and the Registering the world conference in Dublin provided an insight into the many ground-breaking projects and developments regarding land registration and administration around the world. At home, the launch of First National Bank's Attorney Gateway, an electronic instruction and messaging system for the Mortgage Bond and Conveyancing community, was wholeheartedly welcomed by the market. So too was the recent Windeed update.

News logically had its fair share of newsworthy items, what with the public sector strike in June which saw the Deeds Office operating on skeleton staff - Strike hits homebuyers. Cape Town's implementation of new rates valuations saw some 37,000 Value disputes arising. A new Deeds Office has opened in Mpumalanga - Meet the registrar, while consternation was caused by the Johannesburg Deeds Office having to move to Marble Towers.

During the year a number of interesting cases were covered; ones which were of specific interest include: Errant golf balls; Exdev (Pty) Ltd - Option to purchase property not invalid due to lack of agreement on price and date; and Manna - the validity of a deed of sale which was accepted after the offer had lapsed.

Turning to the Sectional Titles Section we see that Paddocks Press has provided us with consistently interesting and useful articles throughout the year. Section 25 check-list and Subdivision check-list were popular articles.

Web Bytes was, well, Web bytes - bits of ephemera about property and conveyancing news collected from all over.

The Practice Management section saw some interesting contributions from Jack Crook such as Does your website bite? As a final note, the Adoption of the Legal Services Charter was an historic event and a milestone for the profession.

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