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23 June 2005

PISCES stands for Property Information Systems Common Exchange Standard (version 1.6). It is the free data exchange standard which allows different participants in the property industry to transmit and receive property-related data in a standard format. Basically it allows recipients to reuse information without having to recapture the data. For example; a lawyer could send a lease report electronically to a surveyor who could automatically digest the report into his management system without retyping all the data.

Although in its early stages the expansion and advantages of PISCES are becoming very clear, such as the realisation that intelligent use of existing systems that brings the costs down and saves time and fee earner input. It can save thousands of pounds in fees, speed up the delivery of legal work and avoid unnecessary repetition.

On the conveyancing side, direct conveyancing firms like Shoosmiths are developing their systems to allow clients to have access to each stage of the sale or purchase, as well as access to other sites such as plans from developers. By logging on to a secure site clients can check their transactions stage by stage without having to telephone an office or wait for hard copy updates. The value of the system is enhanced further when the entire workflow is integrated within a case management system (CMS).

By highlighting what stage the transaction is at and what has to be done next, CMS will make conveyancing even more of a commoditised service allowing lawyers more time to spend meeting clients and making the work more interesting.

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