On 11 April 2011, the Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam, had announced in Parliament
new measures to regulate conveyancing transactions and the receipt, holding and
distribution of conveyancing money. These measures, which will come into operation
on 1 August 2011, seek to provide greater protection for the public and, at the
same time, balance the commercial needs of the conveyancing market.
The Conveyancing (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2011 ('Amendments Act') implementing
these measures amends the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act ('CLPA') and the
Legal Profession Act. The Amendments Act was passed by Parliament on 11 April 2011
and gazetted on 8 July 2011. To effect these measures, the Minister for Law has
made rules under the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act, namely the Conveyancing
and Law of Property (Conveyancing) Rules 2011 ('CLP Rules'), which were also gazetted
on 8 July 2011.
In summary, the new measures include the following:
Solicitors will be prohibited from holding conveyancing money on behalf of their
clients except in the manner permitted by the CLP Rules.
Breach of this prohibition will be a criminal offence punishable with a maximum
of three years' imprisonment or a fine of up to $50,000. It may be compounded by
the Public Prosecutor in appropriate circumstances.
Solicitors receiving conveyancing money shall deposit the money in special conveyancing
accounts held with certain entities appointed by the Minister for Law (appointed
banks or the Singapore Academy of Law).
Withdrawal of conveyancing money deposited in such an account with an appointed
entity will require the signatures of two parties.
The Law Society of Singapore will administer an adjudication scheme for the expedited
resolution of disagreements in respect of the withdrawal of conveyancing money from
special conveyancing accounts.
For details of the new measures, refer to
www.mlaw.gov.sg/conveyancing and the Singapore Academy of Law's website.