1. How many stages are there in the conveyancing process?
In the simplest case there is only one stage especially if the conveyancing is made in the electronic conveyancig system. Also in traditional conveyancing process (paper deed of sale) the conveyancing itself may be seen as a one stage process. The needed conditions are that the sale shall be concluded in writing. The seller and the buyer (or their proxies) shall sign the deed of sale and the (official) purchase witness shall attest the sale in the presence of all the signatories of the deed of sale.
2. How many other agencies/departments/registers etc. must be dealt with or checked prior to signing a legal transfer or mortgage?
No others, but if the mortgage instrument has to be transferred the consent of the party which holds the instrument is needed.
3. Who is responsible for dealing with other departments/agencies?
The party who is responsible to present proof of the legality of his/her acquisition. Usually it is the applicant of the registration but the register authority shall on its own initiative obtain the necessary information on circumstances relevant in the consideration of the matter as is available from the title and mortgage register and the other registers accessible to the register authority (business register, populations register etc.)
4. At what stage of the overall conveyancing process is your organisation involved
Usually from the beginning. When the owner of the property aims to sell the property essential register information is to be needed (excerpt from tile and mortgage register). In Finland it is not obligatory to rely on professionals when selling Real estate (Land Property) even if often are used. Any notary -system dealing with property transactions doesn´t exist in Finland. Of course is our organisation also involved in the registration of title after the conveyancing.
5. Is any or all of the conveyancing process dealt with electronically?
Yes, in the new electronic conveyancing system the whole process is in electronic form. The deed of sale as well as all the other documents to be needed, are produced merely in electronic form. Also the title registration becomes pending at once in electronic form without further activities.
6. Is any or all of the registration process dealt with electronically?
Answer: Yes, all of it. In case that we as Registrar Authority receive paper documents we scan the documents in electronic form so the whole registration procedure can be made electronically. That allow us to act anywhere in Finland and from the beginning of 2014 there will be no territorial jurisdictions. So we are able to benefit all the advantages of the electronic process.
7. When a deed/document or land registration form is lodged for registration, what is the general procedure involved in registering the effect of the deed?
The register officer scrutinizes the documents and the application of registration. A registration decision shall be made without delay and in accordance with the application, unless there is a barrier for registration. In most cases (about 99 %) the registration will be made.
8. How many stages are there in the registration of title process? Please give examples for the following e.g. registration of a (1) transfer of all property, (2) mortgage (3) change of ownership on death where the estate has been administered if applicable (4) registration of right of way (5) transfer of part of property.
This is a little complicated task to answer, because in Finland some of the different activities mentioned above have nothing to do with title registration. For example registration of right of way is usually registered in Cadastre after a certain land surveying process.
The case may sometimes be the same with transfer of property even if in most cases transfer of part of property is to be made in conveyancing process. Another difficulty is to define the above mentioned examples in stages. As I see it, the registration procedure may take a longer time when dealing with more complicated cases as sometimes the change of ownership on death can be. Still would I suggest that there is only one stage. Another thing is then the case when the application is incomplete and the applicant is exhorted to supplement her/his application. Then there may be two or even three stages.
9. What kind of entries are in your system? Describe their main features.
The system itself is in electronic form. So the entries are to made electronically (online) but it is possible to get a copy in paper form if needed.
10. What is the average time taken to register a (1) transfer of all property (2) transfer part property (3) mortgage/charge?
The average time for title registration is about 30 days (1/3 of applications are registered within 2 days). There is no difference between transfer of all property or part of the property. To register a mortgage takes usually a few days. Most of the mortgage registration takes two days.
11. At what level in the organisation is the final decision to register a title made?
According to law the decision shall be made by a lawyer if the case is complicated or comprehensive, otherwise it can be made by person who has the needed skills and has been nominated to handle the applications. There is not a certain organisational level but the appropriate skills are to be needed. In 98 % of the applications the decisions are made by non-lawyers.
12. To what extent are registration decisions in your country taken by a person with a professional qualification? What is that professional qualification?
See answer 11.Only about 2 % of the registrations are to be made so that a lawyer is involved. In Finland there are not any notaries nor have we some other demands about professional qualifications but those that are mentioned above.
13. If registration decisions are not taken by a person with a professional qualification, how are they taken?
See answer 11.
14. Is the decision to register a legal, judicial or administrative function (or mixed)?
According to the Constitution of Finland the exercise of public powers shall be based on an Act. So there is an Act that justifies NLS to act as the Land Registrar in Finland. Also the decision itself has to be made according to wide legal appreciation. So in that sense it is legal. On the other hand earlier, when Land Registration was the duty of local courts the decision was deemed to be judicial but now it is clearly an administrative function which is handled by NLS. So you could say that it is mixed (legal and administrative)