Re: Henry VI, Part 2!
Conveyancing is another area ripe for automation - all those crappy, expensive, painfully slow manual land searches
Land searches are slow, if you are doing the official searches because your a tightwad. If your willing to pay for it then you can get the searches and the search report within a matter of hours by phoning up the head of the search company and asking them to do a personal search on that property as a priority. You then agree a price, the client agrees to pay for it and they then do their best. The record is I think about 40 minutes from request to the search report being received via email.
Of course, that comes down to the client being willing to pay to have the search done privately, rather than waiting for the local government getting around to it when they feel like it.
and the turgid sale bureaucracy for housing is utterly unnecessary in this day and age. It could be done in minutes, and done more securely. But again, I see nobody trying to do this. Come on Zoopla, this is your sort of sh*t! Get it sorted!
Oh please. Zoopla and Rightmove have hardly accomplished anything. Try and figure out how to list a property on either yourself. Oh, you can't? That'll be because the Estate Agents know that if people could list directly on these sites then estate agents would immediately cease to exist and turned around to both sites and said that they'd start up their own competitors and not list any properties on rightmove/zoopla if they allowed direct listings. Hence, you need an estate agent to list properties on rightmove/zoopla despite the agent not doing anything more than walking around snapping a few photos with a camera and then uploading them with a description. Oh, and pricing. Which is a matter of looking around at what everything else is selling for in the area, and then charging around that with allowance for the condition of the property.
Now, Zoopla can't even deal with Estate Agent's protecting their ability to charge percentage points of the property value for taking and uploading photos. But you think they are doing to deal with actually legally complicated issues? Please.
Technically speaking, you could just hand over the money to the buyer, and then register it at the Land Registry. Some people have been doing this since some TV "expert" suggested doing it. The problem with this is that generally speaking, most buyers get quite upset when they come to sell a property and then discover that somebody else doesn't want to buy it because of the legacy of the flooding in the area, or the possibility that it might collapse down an old mine shaft running under the property, or discover that the property has been built where an awful lot of chemicals were dumped post war, which upon somebody taking a soil sample is starting to leak nasty things into the environment. And um, yeah that's your legal liability to fix up because it's on your property. As is it when the local church has their roof damaged, and then decides to bill the houses that were built on church land for the parishioners in the 14th century.
Very strangely, mortgage lenders don't want to lend people money to buy liabilities like this, leaving the person owning the property having to pay to fix the problems before they can sell it. Do you have any idea how much it costs to fix any of those problems, such as filling in a mine shaft? Not cheap.
And have you ever wondered why conveyancing is the most frequent (and most expensive) insurance claims for law firms? Nope, guess not. Suffice to say that if a law firm misses things like my examples then their insurance tends to foot the bill. Making sure that none of these issues exist, and if they did they are dealt with by absurdly long running insurance policies is all part of the job. Making sure that the person buying the house (and the law firm!) is not liable for those sort of things takes up the majority of the conveyancing process.
The parts of conveyancing that can be automated have long since been automated, simply because when your doing conveyancing for a fixed fee then you automate everything that can be automated. Now consider something a moment.
Estage agent: 1% of £165,000 = £1,650. 30 minutes taking photos and posting them. 4x 15 minute appointments before one agrees to buy the property. That's about an hour and a half worked. Hell, let's call it 2 hours work. That's still £825 per hour for an unskilled job that requires no qualifications beyond a bit of customer service experience.
So: the law firm charges ~£600 for their work in conveyancing. That's 8-10 hours usually. £600/8=£75 per hour to to £600/10=£60 per hour worked. And that's costs, not profit. Paying wages, rent and keeping the lights on does cost something.
If you'd like the job done faster then it's quite possible: pay your Solicitor enough to employ more staff on the job, which lets them get it done faster. I think our firms record is doing a block of flats in about 3 hours, but that relied on somebody being willing to pay a partners rates for doing nothing else for the morning along with sufficiently expedited searches etc.
Another legal job for AI: Search all stature law, and highlight all conflicts of law for resolution, and re-write the lot in the nearest possible to clear everyday English.
Law is written in clear, everyday English already. Even the bits written in medieval latin have been translated to perfectly comprehensible English and are freely available to view online. Ok, let's pick something that everybody here ought to be reasonably familiar with, the computer misuse act.
Read it. How it is unclear? Which bits in particular do you find unduly difficult? I'm going to guess none of it, because it's perfectly comprehensible to anybody who can understand "IF" statement.
1) IF you have done A, B & C THEN you are guilty of this offense. GOTO 3; sentencing. A: This is the penalty if convicted in a magistrates court in England and wales, B, in if convicted in a magistrates court in Scotland, and C anywhere in the UK at the Crown Court with a jury trial.
How could you possibly write that to be any simpler?
And even if it was difficult to understand, allowing an AI to write our laws is not something that should be even remotely desirable because the law is written by humans for humans, accepting the human judgement will be used, and humans still hate it. Without exercising human judgement which an AI is inherently incapable of then AI conceived and executed laws would be an utter disaster.