Artificial Intellegence – a conveyancer’s friend or foe

Technology’s influence has been reshaping traditional practices for generations. Conveyancing is no different and conveyancers are now having to come to terms with the integration of artificial intelligence (AI). AI is transforming conveyancer’s day to day working lives. It is changing how conveyancers obtain search results, conduct due diligence, ensure security and navigate regulatory complexities. However, whilst the use of AI can be used as a force to enhance the industry’s effectiveness, there will always be those who see opportunities to fraudulently manipulate technology and AI is certainly no exception.


The conventional process of gathering search results has often been hindered by delays and cumbersome data retrieval. AI is changing this narrative by swiftly scanning and sorting through large volumes of data. AI expedites the extraction of pertinent information, providing conveyancers with a comprehensive overview in a fraction of the time it used to take. This acceleration not only reduces waiting times but also allows for prompt decision-making, a crucial element in the time-sensitive world of property transactions. AI’s integration into the realm of conveyancing is not only accelerating the acquisition of search results but also reshaping our approach to information retrieval.

Due diligence, a crucial phase of any property transaction, has traditionally involved laborious manual searches through extensive volumes of data. AI has revolutionised this process by rapidly scanning large datasets to reveal any point of note associated with a property, its owners, and its prospective owners. By automating this data intensive task, AI accelerates due diligence timelines and reduces the risk of crucial information ever being missed. Conveyancers can now offer clients a more efficient and comprehensive due diligence process, enhancing trust and the speed of transactions.


Navigating the intricate network of regulatory compliance and legislative changes is a challenge faced by all legal professionals, and particularly for those working within the everchanging frameworks of property related regulations and legislation. AI allows conveyancers to constantly monitor amendments, to keep pace with changing regulations and legal requirements. Conveyancers can rely on AI to stay up to date with the latest guidelines and legislation, ensuring that every transaction adheres to the highest standards of legality as well as ethical practice. This insight provided by AI offers conveyancers a sense of assurance that their transactions remain compliant in a constantly changing regulatory landscape.


The incorporation of AI into conveyancing is not just about expediting processes; it’s about improving the entire experience for both conveyancers and clients. AI’s speed in gathering search results, its predictive abilities in risk assessment, its ability to streamline due diligence, and its ability to help ensure regulatory compliance are helping the industry toward a future marked by efficiency and accuracy. As AI continues to evolve and integrate seamlessly into conveyancing practices, the industry is in a position to offer an even higher standard of service and assurance to those navigating the intricate world of property transactions.


Like many industries at this point in time, the advantages AI provides conveyancers must be met with caution. Whilst AI has emerged as a powerful tool with the potential to revolutionise the field of conveyancing, it also brings forth its own set of threats that must be carefully considered.


One concerning aspect is the emergence of AI-powered fraud schemes. As AI technology becomes more sophisticated, criminals will exploit it to create intricate and hard-to-detect fraudulent activities. AI-driven algorithms can generate fake documents, impersonate identities, and manipulate data, posing significant challenges to traditional fraud prevention methods.


The vulnerabilities in cybersecurity cannot be ignored. AI systems themselves can become targets of cyber attacks. If fraudsters manage to compromise AI algorithms or access crucial data, they can leverage the technology against the very systems meant to safeguard against fraud, potentially exposing sensitive client information.


Recently, fraudsters have been able to use public data leaks to use AI algorithms in order to comb through email accounts involved in leaks. The criminal’s algorithms will identify those accounts containing emails with key-words associated with property transactions. Once identified, the fraudsters will target said accounts, the accounts of property purchasers more often than not, with emails enticing purchasers to send funds to fake client accounts. Whilst clients may recognise that something is not quite right with the emails, the importance of personal relations is evident here. A client having full knowledge of their transaction, knowing that this may be a strange time to send funds, will prevent them from ever doing so.


Another critical consideration is the issue of human oversight. Although AI excels at processing vast amounts of data and recognising patterns quickly, it lacks the nuanced judgment and intuition inherent in an experienced conveyancer. Relying solely on AI systems for fraud prevention may lead to false positives, flagging legitimate transactions as fraudulent, or false negatives, overlooking genuine instances of fraud. AI algorithms learn from historical data, which can contain implicit biases. This can inadvertently lead to discriminatory practices, where certain individuals or properties may be unfairly targeted or excluded from transactions based on historical patterns.

Additionally, legal and ethical challenges come to light with the adoption of AI in fraud prevention. Determining accountability and liability for AI related fraud can be complex, raising questions about who bears responsibility when an AI system fails to prevent fraudulent activities is a fresh issue the industry does not have a definitive answer to.


To address these concerns, it is essential to strike a balance between implementing the advantages of AI and the significance of human involvement. Combining AI systems with human expertise and judgment can ultimately enhance the overall effectiveness of fraud prevention measures.


Looking to the future, there is of course a risk of overreliance on technology. The convenience and efficiency that AI brings might inadvertently lead professionals to become complacent in detecting potential fraud when they overly rely on AI systems to handle the task. Combining this with the use of AI by fraudsters themselves and there is certainly cause to be cautious of AI and its impact on the conveyancing process.

Legal work will always be an industry which requires a human touch. Clients rely on a conveyancers personal experience and person ability in the same way they rely on their skills in dealing with the law. Incorporating AI into the world of conveyancing has to be a conscious process which considers all advantages and disadvantages. As always, the client, their goals and their experience, will remain at the heart of all legal work. Conveyancing is no different.