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EAAB Media Statement regarding PrivySeal
South Africa - EAAB
The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) wishes to inform estate agents and industry at large that its contract with PrivySeal has come to an end and is in the process of initiating a procurement process for similar services.

The Board has informed PrivySeal that it would not be possible to renew its contract without following an appropriate procurement process as was the case previously when this contract was signed.

The Board further more wishes to advise all involved that we are currently undertaking an open procurement process where all interested parties will be invited to bid for this service.

Law Commission paves way for video witnessing of deeds
UK - LegalFutures
The Law Commission has paved the way for video witnessing of deeds by calling on the government to set up an industry working group which could consider the matter.

In a report published yesterday, the commission also confirmed that the current law provided for electronic signatures and produced a statement of it to reassure those who have doubts.

The commission said the majority of respondents to its consultation on the electronic execution of documents supported the idea that “it should be possible to witness an electronic signature via video link and then attest the document”.

RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY TREND: The need for smaller houses continues to grow
South Africa - Property360
Rising costs and income restrictions have seen more buyers and renters downscale to stay afloat.
More South Africans are giving up spacious homes as increasing financial pressure forces them to cut down on bond or rent payments. Many in the rental market are moving into smaller homes, while homeowners sell their properties to downscale or rent.

Although “downscaling due to life age” remains the most prominent reason for people selling, according to the Q2 FNB Property Barometer, “downscaling due to financial pressures” has increased over the past year. In Q1 of 2019, this reason accounted for 15.9% of all sales, but in Q2, the FNB report states it jumped to 19%.

This reason for selling is the second most prominent with “downscaling due to life age” behind 23% of all sales. “This is consistent with our view that household finances are under pressure,” says FNB economist Siphamandla Mkhwanazi. “Of those who sell due to financial pressure, around 60% now opt for the rental market as opposed to a cheaper property.”

How can law firms meet SME clients’ evolving needs?
Australia - NAB
Lawyers are critical to SMEs. But that doesn’t mean they get it right every time. In NAB’s inaugural Legal Services Industry Survey, we find out what SME clients really need, want and value – giving lawyers unique insights into how they can better service clients.

Australia’s SMEs are quite prepared to switch law firms, according to NAB’s Australian Legal Services Industry Survey – a comprehensive study of 70 law firms and over 750 small and medium-sized businesses. In fact, more than one in three SMEs has changed their lawyer in the past five years, and almost one in three has done so within the past 12 months.

It’s not that law firms aren’t valued. NAB’s survey also found that lawyers are the second most used professional services provider after accountants, and they’re rated highly by SMEs as business advisers. Indeed, they scored 7.3 marks out of a possible 10 in this regard – the second highest ranking, again after accountants.

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