Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Project to Reform Land and Conveyancing Law

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform Press Release

McDowell announces major project to reform and modernise land law and conveyancing law

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr Michael McDowell, T.D., today announced details of a joint project being undertaken by his Department and the Law Reform Commission to radically reform and modernise land law and conveyancing law. The Minister made the announcement today following a meeting with Commissioner Rickard Clarke of the Law Reform Commission and Professor John Wylie who chairs the Commission's Land Law Working Group.

The project will repeal over 100 pre-1922 statutes - the earliest of which date back to the 13th century - and to replace them, where necessary, with a modern law of property that will meet the needs of the 21st century. It is intended that the project will:

* Simplify the law and improve its presentation, in order to make it easily understood and accessible for practitioners and the public alike.
* Update the law to accommodate changing social, demographic and economic needs, e.g. new forms of property ownership;
* Make the conveyancing of property easier and faster with a view to reducing costs and delays.

The Minister said that the programme includes three phases:

* The screening phase, already underway, during which existing legislation will be reviewed with a view to identifying statutes which can be repealed without replacement and those which need to be replaced with modern provisions. This phase is already well underway since the start of the year and very significant progress has already been made. This phase will culminate in publication by the Law Reform Commission of a Consultation Paper in October 2004 which will embody the results of the screening process and contain parameters for future reforms.
* The second phase features a Conference on 'Modernising Irish Land and Conveyancing Law' to be held on Thursday, 25 November 2004 at the O'Reilly Hall at UCD. The Conference, which will be addressed by international guest speakers, will study the reform proposals identified in the Consultation Paper as well as the ongoing modernisation of the Land Registry and preparations for e-conveyancing.. It will be open to all those with an interest in the reform of conveyancing and land law.
* The third phase will involve the drafting of a Bill (or Bills) to give effect to the proposals for reform. It is intended that drafts of the new legislation will be available as early as August 2005.

The Minister said that reform of the law in this area would represent a major contribution to the Government's Programme of Regulatory Reform as outlined in this year's White Paper 'Regulating Better' and would bring tangible benefits to businesses and members of the public alike.

29 June, 2004