Lawyers prohibited from holding conveyancing money in clients’ accounts

Lawyers will now be prohibited from holding conveyancing money in their clients’ account – in the changes made to the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act that were read in parliament Monday by Law Minister K Shanmugam.

The changes are expected to begin in phases from August 1 this year after the bill is passed.

Conveyancing money used for payment of stamp duties, option deposits, and balance of sales proceeds – are usually entrusted to lawyers.

Under the new rules, law firms need to set up a Conveyancing Account with appointed banks and two signatories from the parties are required before funds are withdrawn.

Clients also have the option of engaging the Singapore Academy of Law, to hold such conveyancing monies.

Law firms who breach the new ruling will face a criminal penalty with a fine of up to S$50,000 or imprisonment of up to three months.

“Lawyers currently hold conveyancing money for practical and important reasons as stakeholders or as agents for their clients who may be overseas or otherwise unable to attend to legal completion. They perform a valued service within the conveyancing market: these new measures will help enhance public confidence in their role,” said Mr Shanmugam.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 11 Apr 2011

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