Casting my eye over the 300 or so stories published in the GhostDigest during 2008, it is quite clear that despite a subdued economic environment there is lots of life in the conveyancing profession with no shortage of news, debate and activity. In order of section the following articles are worthy of note.
In A conundrum Donald Moore of Guthrie & Rushton Attorneys presents a conveyancing conundrum, concerning Section 45 bis of the Deeds Registries Act, this elicited a number of responses. As did a query regarding the payment/exemption of transfer duty in terms of Section 9(1)(i) of the Transfer Duty Act 40 of 1949.
Another article which elicited a good response was the question about the need for the Master of the High Court to consent to the sale of immovable property from a section 18(3) estate as did Allen West's question whether Section 228 of the Companies Act included mortgage bonds when a company disposed of the whole of its undertaking or the greater part of its assets.
This year's budget saw no changes to transfer duty and suchlike, however in November we updated the Conveyancing Tables - Tables of Costs booklet to reflect the Deeds Office changes to their Schedule of Fees which came into effect on 27 October. A query on Non resident Endorsements and Allen West's invaluable Guidelines to prepare for the conveyancing examination round off this section's highlights.
The GhostDigest has helped enhance the web presence of over 120 legal firms, with hyperlinks to their web sites.
Land Law in England and Wales - In a long article spread over two weeks, Paul Omar of Gray's Inn writes extensively about the challenge modernisation is bringing to land law in England and Wales.
IT and the Lawyer
Build your own future, says Professor Richard Susskind to the legal profession.
One doesn't quite know what is happening with regards to e-conveyancing in Australia as the following stories detail Cut the red tape, Building the agenda and Approved.
Happily in South Africa GhostConvey and Windeed have forged ahead this year with Spider Search and the ability of GhostConvey users not only to import accurate Deeds Office information into transfers but to track a documents progress through the Deeds Office.
People and News
At the start of the year there was much consternation when "power instability" meant that some 335 000 title deed images were lost at the Pretoria Deeds Office - Lights go out. The slowdown in the property market however came as a welcome respite - Slowdown relieves, then Routledge Modise lodged a huge batch of 1325 linked deeds at the Deeds Office.
Robert Krautkrämer feels vindicated for his earlier view on Stalwo v Wary and Jeanne van Jaarsveldt called for a review of home purchasing structural costs in Another appeal .
Here three cases are worth noting -
Wary Holdings (Pty) Ltd v Stalwo (Pty) Ltd and Others (CCT 78/07)  ZACC 12 which concerned the definition of agricultural land; Just Names Properties v Fourie  SCA 126 (RSA) - sellers signing blank page in an agreement of sale, and the recent case of Gumede v President of the Republic of South Africa  ZACC 23 - customary marriages and ownership of immovable property .
Here the many issues of Paddocks Press stand out as does Allen West's clarification of the application of Section 24(6)(d) of the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986.
In this section Jack Crook's Seven ways to recession proof your practice, and a Cape attorneys call to other attorneys to run their practices like businesses proved popular. In Complete Practice Management Matthew Spagnoletti comprehensively analysed the advantages of the "one system" GhostPractice approach to complete Practice Management .
Survey II - Our massively popular survey into matters conveyancing has yielded some fascinating results about fees and other matter. These will be published in the new year.
Lizelle Kilbourn's The ABC of Conveyancing was published to acclaim and is sure to become a standard reference work for conveyancers.