Becoming a Conveyancer

Looking for a new career? Why not consider becoming a licensed conveyancer?

Conveyancing is a satisfying career combining the challenge of helping people and practising in the area of property law.  Conveyancers can act in relation to all property matters.

Conveyancing work is defined as: legal work carried out in connection with any transaction that creates, varies, transfers or extinguishes a legal or equitable interest in any real or personal property. Conveyancing work includes legal work involved in preparing any document (such as, an agreement, conveyance, transfer, lease or mortgage) that is necessary to give effect to any conveyancing transaction, and legal work (such as the giving of advice or the preparation, perusal, exchange or registration of documents) that is consequential or ancillary to any such transaction.

In New South Wales, conveyancers are licensed under the the Conveyancers Licensing Act 2003. The government authority responsible for administration of the Act and the licensing of conveyancers is the Office of Fair Trading. You will find more information on the licensing requirements page of the Office of Fair Trading website.

The academic qualification for a conveyancers licence in NSW is satisfactory completion of the Advanced Diploma of Conveyancing (FNS60311) which may be provided by a Registered Training Organisation, or other approved courses.

The three New South Wales teaching institutions conducting approved courses are:

- Ultimo TAFE Sydney 1300 360 601 (fulltime and part time courses available)
bullet.gif Ultimo TAFE Conveyancing Advanced Diploma

- Macquarie University, Ryde (02) 98507470 (Online course)
bullet.gif Macquarie University Conveyancing Law and Practice Program

- Southern Cross University, Lismore (02) 6620 3115 (Correspondence course)
bullet.gif Southern Cross University Associate degree in Law (Paralegal studies)

Students are encouraged to join the Institute as a student member. A link for the Membership Application page can be found on the home page.

Licensing Requirements

As noted above, the Office of Fair Trading is the government department responsible for the administration of the Conveyancers Licensing Act in New South Wales and licensing is administered by the Property Services Licensing Unit.

To obtain a licence an applicant must:

> be over the age of 18 years
> have completed an approved conveyancing course (or hold a law degree recognised in NSW)
> have gained one year's practical experience to be granted a restricted licence*
> have gained two years' practical experience to be granted an unrestricted licence **
> must not be a disqualified person as detailed in the Conveyancers Licensing Act
> must be covered by an approved policy of Professional Indemnity Insurance***

** Practical experience must be obtained in a conveyancer's office or in a legal office doing conveyancing work.  Practical experience can be obtained during, after or before completing the course.

** An unrestricted licence is only required where the licensee owns or operates a conveyancing business.

** Licensees who are employed in a conveyancer's office or a legal firm are automatically covered by their employer’s Professional Indemnity Insurance policy.  The operator of a conveyancing business can only be covered by the policy held in the name of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers NSW Division (AICNSW) with Vero Insurance. Contact the AICNSW on 9633 1355 for further information.

Additional Information:

> To conduct a conveyancing business the owner must hold an unrestricted licence.

> A person who holds either:
a barrister’s or solicitor’s practising certificate OR
a licence or certificate of registration under the Property Stock and Business Agents Act
is disqualified from holding a licence under the Conveyancers Licensing Act

> Business names must be registered with the Australian Tax Office and approved by the Office of Fair Trading.  A business name cannot be so similar to a name already approved as to imply that the businesses are related or imply that the business is that of a legal practitioner.

> Consent must be obtained from the Office of Fair Trading to enter into a multi-disciplinary partnership or to share receipts with an unlicensed person or entity.

> When applying for a licence allow approximately six weeks for approval, appreciating that certain checks will be made such as inquiries to the Police, the Law Society, Bar Society, Real Estate Institute as well as bankruptcy/insolvency records to verify the applicant’s eligibility

Further information and application forms for a conveyancer's licence can be found on the following links:

Office of Fair Trading website:  Licensing Requirements

Licence Application website: ABLIS

Licence Application should include:
- Evidence of age
- Evidence of educational qualification
- Evidence of experience
- Employer’s (current and/or previous) confirmation of the applicant’s experience

For further information contact the Office of Fair Trading 9619 8733 or you can contact the Australian Institute of Conveyancers NSW Division 9633 1355.

Ongoing Requirements

Once licensed, conveyancers must undertake ongoing professional development each year to retain their licence. There is a big future in conveyancing for those who are willing to apply themselves, and with the soon to be introduced electronic conveyancing procedures, there are exciting times ahead.