We have long experience in legal kit publishing - starting with the creation of the Victorian Conveyancing Kit in 1976 by our author (Dale Sedgman). Following its initial publication the publishing role moved first to the Consumers' Law Reform Association and then to Legal Kits Pty Ltd.
That Conveyancing Kit became a phenomenon of the Victorian legal world, by creating an effective alternative to solicitors for real estate conveyancing - at only about 5% of the prevailing cost. This DIY alternative led to the establishment of several conveyancing alternatives that worked in conjunction with solicitors in order to avoid breaching the monopolistic provisions in the "Legal Profession Practice Act". The nature of the legal profession's attacks on solicitors providing services to the conveyancing companies eventually led the Labor government of the day to make it clear to the solicitors that harassment of competitive conveyancing alternatives by the solicitors' trade association (the "Law Institute") had to stop. Fom 1983 onward conveyancing companies proliferated, and the rest is history - lawyers lost a large part of their conveyancing monopoly (following which some of them set up conveyancing companies themselves).
Most homebuyers and sellers in those years were not aware of how much they owed to our conveyancing kit. Conveyancing fees in 1976 were around $700 on a median house price of around $40,000. If conveyancing fees had continued to rise with inflation then conveyancing would be costing about $4000 today. It does not (although the ongoing changes to land transfer processes have led to a huge increase in conveyancing prices).
Real estate agents have shown what happens to fees when competition is banned in favour of a small self-serving elite. Instead of charging a fee that reflects work actually done, they take a share of what their client owns. As the price of houses goes through the roof, agent fees do the same - quietly and automatically. (And the agents condemn the State Government's percentage based (stamp) duty because it escalates with property values!). Agent fees (along with duty) have become a major expense when changing houses, and contribute significantly to the widely reported "housing affordability crisis" from 2016 on.
At the time of writing, the Conveyancing Kit is not on offer.
Over the years Legal Kits of Victoria added other kits to its range:
- the Will Kit
- the Probate Kit
- the Power of Attorney Kit (since discontinued after the Victorian Government introduced a no-cost alternative - for which we applaud it).
Legal Kits of Victoria has since the 1980's been a recognised and significant DIY legal kit publisher, and is a member of the Supreme Court's Probate Users committee, where it has made several proposals that have led to changes that benefit all probate applicants.
The Will Kit has also proved a trail blazer, with an extraordinary number of "copy cat" Will Kit marketers appearing on the scene (many of whom disappeared just as fast).