• Robert Spicer

The irrelevance of property law to the propertyless

For many people, their main contact with lawyers is dealing with the solicitor who handles the procedure of buying and selling houses. “Conveyancing” law is highly structured, sophisticated and sufficiently complex to deter all but the most determined house buyer or seller who aims to avoid giving large sums of money to lawyers.

Conveyancing is essentially about the exchange of money for property. It involves layer upon layer of professionals: solicitors, legal executives, paralegals, estate agents, surveyors, mortgage brokers and bankers. Networking between lawyers and their auxiliaries controls the conveyancing system.

This massively complex and sophisticated edifice of property and tax law, aimed at the preservation of property and the transfer of property rights, is simply irrelevant to those who have no property. Those of us whose family members have died, leaving literally nothing but the clothes they stood up in, are well aware of the reality of the irrelevance of property law in such circumstances.

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