Andres Sepp explains as follows with regards to the queries and comments regarding the three tables below:
There is currently no functionality in the Deeds Registration System to capture specific queries or notes which cover "Valid rejection queries", "invalidly rejected" or "incorrectly rejected" reasons.
Should the above be implemented the pointing of fingers will also have to be specific in order to produce statistics. I support Allen's comments below on this matter.
The current Deeds Office Tracking System (DOTS) provides internal reports to management on rejection reasons. These internal reports only deal with certain processes and not specific queries or notes. Examples of these rejection reasons are as follows: - Rejected at Lodgement - non linking, Rejected at Lodgement - account suspended, Rejected at Prep - held over too long, Withdrawn at Prep on request etc. There are currently 49 of these rejection reasons utilised in DOTS. These "statistics" however are not available to conveyancers
If one draws a DOTS report at a Deeds Registry where a specific deed has been rejected one or more of the rejection reasons will appear in the tracking information. The rejections reported in the tables below include all rejections.
The electronic registration of deeds should, in the future, be able to produce all of the necessary statistics on queries or notes which will aid in assessing the performance of examiners and conveyancers alike.
The tables read as follows:
Thanks for these stats, but they are meaningless. Do the stats relate to VALID rejection queries, or ALL rejection queries? Moreover when a set of 30 deeds is rejected because of a rejection on ONE deed in the set, does that count as ONE rejection, or as 30 rejections? It would be interesting to see that stats for INVALIDLY rejected deeds well. Only then would these stats begin to mean anything.
I am more interested in the incorrectly rejected stats as well, because in more than one instance Deeds are being rejected incorrectly.
Let us not point fingers and look at who to blame, but look for a solution to the problem. We can all admit that the standard of conveyancing and examination has deteriorated of late and we must look at avenues to improve it. Please always remember that the Conveyancer is a specialist and should take pride in his / her work. I am certain that if deeds are prepped by conveyancers before lodgement and not lodged for trial runs the statistics will drastically change.
I did a survey (in my firm) over an extended period of all deeds that were validly rejected - by totalling the total number of deeds rejected, and subtracting from that figure those deeds that had been invalidly rejected, and were restored, plus those deeds in a rejected set that had no queries on them, and the average valid rejection rate was well below 10% - and that included rejections for attachments and the like - for what it is worth........................
I am the registrar of deeds Pietermaritzburg. Comments above do not deal with the core of the problem. I,as registrar, am not bothered by the stats on rejections. My main concern is of the deeds passed, how many have been invalidly registered. The stats are just a tip of iceberg in as far as problems encountered in the conveyancing fraternity is concerned. The standards in both spheres have dropped to their all time low. We jointly need to urgently come with a joint solution to the problem. I am willing to provide the stats for restorations so that we can get a complete picture. I believe we can jointly come with a solution.
I agree with both Audrey Gwangwa and Alan West that the percentage is merely an indication of a deeper problem. I do believe that the rejection rate in my firm is definitely below 10% although I have no statistics, but surely our drive should be zero tolerance to any rejections! I do consider to keep statistics in future and motivate my department to reduce the % from month to month and from year to year.
One of the problems that we do incur is stubbornness on the side of the examiners and assistant registrar to admit to mistakes on their side and a lack of legal knowledge sometimes. This is definitely not limited to Deeds Office staff, but also fellow conveyancers. LEAD presents a course, I think in the new year. Our main problem is an unwillingness to learn and an attitude of know all or failing to admit that you do not know all.
A conveyancer faced with a rejection has to make a decision based on pragmatism rather than on academic correctness. The general rule-of-thumb in my practice is "compliance is quicker than defiance", so not infrequently when faced with a rejection one has to weigh up the likelihood of a speedier conclusion of your client's transfer by complying with a wrong note, against the time which it would take to prove that you are right. The registrars know this very well and they bias the restoration process in favour of compliance, and punish your client for your defiance. The registrar has all the time in the world, and can't be sued for damages, while every day costs your client money, and courts are showing greater willingness to award damages against conveyancers for overdue transfers.
None of this even begins to take into account the fact that registrars have interpreted the provisions in PAJA dealing with the principle of audi alterem partem before taking an administrative decision, to read that the rejection/relodgement/re-examination process constitutes cognisance of that principle, and that it is not necessary for an examiner to call a conveyancer in to discuss a potential rejection before putting his/her "R" on the cover.
I think that is a cynical abuse, considering what is at stake for a client (and I do not agree that "money is not a factor when arguing for urgency": the whole reason for the existence of the deeds office is that land constitutes the most economically important form of wealth in the country, and provides a way of securing the rights in that resource. Money is what it is all about).