The IT in Property Group

April 30, 2003

Readers may recall that in July 2002, SCL formed a sub-group called the IT in Property Group (ITiPG), recognising the increasing importance of IT in the property industry with issues like e-conveyancing and the PISCES initiative.

Its stated objectives are: “to deal with all matters in connection with use of information technology in the property industry with either a legal application or a legal connection of some sort – the legal connection might be in connection with property or IT law or alternatively in connection with legal practice management”.

The group has two particular interests within the overall remit:

· To educate members on cross-disciplinary matters – many property lawyers, for instance, are attracted to the group to improve their understanding of information technology issues. The increased knowledge which the group gives them may encourage them to become involved in the SCL’s activities as a whole.

· To consult with government and influence developments in the use of information technology in the property industry, in particular in the context of electronic conveyancing and the PISCES initiative; to liaise with other bodies such as the Property IT Director’s Forum and the PISCES working group.

The group is for everyone interested in learning about or helping influence changes in the use of information technology in the property industry. It aims to be as broad-based and high-level as possible in order to maximise the opportunity for assisting in consultation processes with the government and also influencing change.

As chair of the group, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of interest when we launched last summer and that interest continues. Members include property lawyers, IT lawyers, IT managers from law firms, property software developers, legal practice software developers, representatives of HM Land Registry, the National Land Information Service (NLIS), all three NLIS channels, estate agents and surveyors. The group’s committee is actively seeking to expand the breadth of representation within the group to include major lenders and other property interest groups such as those involved in property investment and social housing.

Events held by the group to date include:

  • Reaction to the Government’s consultation paper on electronic conveyancing;
  • An introduction to electronic signatures, including a basic explanation of what they are and how they function, a discussion on their evidential reliability and a practical demonstration of e-signatures in daily use;
  • Reaction to the consultation paper on the new proposed Land Registry rules.

Future events will hopefully include:

  • The reliability of addressing – issues arising from the need to have accurate systems able to recognise and deal consistently with property addresses (a matter of great importance to property lawyers, search agencies, surveyors, practice managers and IT managers alike) (March 2003);
  • The National Land Information Service and the three NLIS Channels (May 2003);
  • “Deal rooms” and document/deed storage and digitisation – looking at the practicalities and legalities of conducting transactions in a virtual environment in a single place shared by all parties to a transaction with passwords to indicate the depth of information to which a party may have access (September 2003);
  • PISCES – an introduction to what this communication standard can do for those involved in domestic and commercial property transactions;
  • Security issues;
  • Case management systems.

The Committee is always open to ideas for future events. We need new and interesting topics all the time to maximise the cohesion and influence of the group. We also welcome support in the form of hosting events and spreading the word about the group to other people whom you think may be useful in furtherance of the interests of the group or who may benefit from membership. Above all, we are particularly interested in hearing from people who have relevant experience and are willing to play an active role on the committee – you should send your CV to

By joining ITiPG, you get:

· the opportunity to learn and keep up to date on all matters relating to IT in the property industry

· a chance to participate in relevant government consultations and also to influence changes in the sector

· the opportunity to network with other influential members of the IT, legal and property professions.

Membership is free to SCL members – non-members are required to join SCL as a pre-requisite of group involvement. If you are interested in joining the group, whether you are an existing member of SCL or not, please contact Caroline Gould and she will add you to the membership list once you have also joined SCL. Caroline Gould may be contacted on 0117 923 7379 –