Article and photos by Shamine Parisamy, Legal Risk Junior Counsel, Bar Council Professional Indemnity Insurance and Risk Management Department
On 19 Sept 2019, a seminar entitled "How Not to be a Statistic: The Conveyancing Scam" –– organised by the Bar Council Professional Indemnity Insurance ("PII") and Risk Management Department under the direction of the PII Committee –– was held at the Kedah Bar Committee Auditorium in Alor Setar.
The objective of this seminar, which highlighted the scams that have been reported to the PII Scheme, was to brief Members of the Bar on the many conveyancing scams affecting law firms, the duty of care expected of a conveyancing lawyer, and risk management policies and procedures that can be adopted by Members to avoid being scammed.
The seminar was targeted at lawyers and staff working in the area of conveyancing law. An encouraging number of 32 participants, which included five staff members of law firms, attended, indicating that the law firms in Kedah are serious about protecting themselves against conveyancing scams.
The panellists were:
(1) Dennis Goh, Legal Risk Manager, Jardine Lloyd Thompson Sdn Bhd; and
(2) Zemilah Mohd Noor, Senior Partner, Messrs EzriLaw Firm.
The seminar was moderated by Shamine Parisamy.
Dennis Goh started off the seminar by explaining how the PII Scheme policy, mandatory limit of indemnity, base excess, and claims loading work, and revealed the statistics for the number of claims received for various areas of practice. He also provided guidance as to how Members should deal with instances where claims are made against them, and the dos and don'ts in such situations.
Next, Zemilah Mohd Noor drew the audience's attention to the crux of the seminar, which looked at the types of conveyancing scams that affect law practices today. She highlighted the ways to identify fraud based on the findings of fact by the Court in cases involving fraudulent land transactions, such as Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd v Boonsom Boonyanit (2001) and, more recently, Pusphaleela a/p R Selvarajah & Anor v Rajamani d/o Meyappa Chettiar & Other Appeals (2019). She also emphasised the duty of care that is expected of conveyancing lawyers today.
Thereafter, Dennis Goh provided valuable advice on the essential risk management practices and procedures that should be in place in every conveyancing law firm. He also gave various examples of recent trends in conveyancing scams reported to the PII Scheme. In addition, he provided insights to raise awareness on how lawyers can identify scams, and avoid pitfalls and traps.
The end of the session saw a question–and–answer segment, during which several questions were addressed in a lively discussion.
Conveyancing scams have cost the PII Scheme millions of ringgit. By holding seminars such as this, the PII and Risk Management Department hopes that Members will learn how to detect scams and protect themselves against the risk of becoming victims.
If you would like to attend the next "How Not to be a Statistic: The Conveyancing Scam" seminar, please contact the PII and Risk Management Department by telephone at 03–2032 4511, or by email at email@example.com.