We have recently been involved with developing a system aimed at facilitating the conveyancing process across the EU.
The project is called CROBECO, which stands for “Cross Border e-Conveyancing”. The second part of this project is drawing to a close, following its closing conference at The Law Society in London on 1 December.
CROBECO was set up by the European Land Registry Association (ELRA) – an organisation whose president is our own Director of Legal Services, Alasdair Lewis. We work with ELRA to enhance the capabilities of the lending and conveyancing market in Europe for the benefit of EU citizens.
CROBECO was initiated to increase customer confidence in European conveyancing, to aid economic recovery across the EU and to encourage foreign real estate investment, specifically in southern Europe.
It enables a customer to buy a property elsewhere in the EU using a notary from their own country. Through a new online resource called NetPRO, a foreign notary has access to resources which can answer any legal questions they may have.
Notaries from the Netherlands, England, Wales, Portugal and Spain have been involved in the CROBECO project thus far. Although the focus is on English and Dutch buyers of property rights in Spain and Portugal, the systems used by NetPRO and could easily be adopted by other EU countries.
A long-standing supporter of the project is former Member of the European Parliament Diana Wallis. In her book “European Property Rights and Wrongs”, she presents the problems foreign buyers can often have. She also argues that a foreign buyer should have the right to choose a specialised notary from their country. Diana spoke at the CROBECO closing conference on 1 December.
We are proud to be involved with the pilot of the pioneering CROBECO project. As part of the pilot, we support the work of English notaries by acting as an intermediary between these two parties.
The majority of our work to change the register comes from solicitors and conveyancers rather than notaries. This is because there is no legal requirement for a notarial act to convey land as there is elsewhere in the EU.
We make sure notaries in England and Wales have access to the support they need when working with foreign registries. In conjunction with The Law Society, we are also available to provide notaries with independent advice on certain aspects of English law.
Find out more about our International Unit on GOV.UK.