Crobeco (Cross Border Electronic Conveyancing) Conference , Brussels 25 November 2010

European Land Registration Association (ELRA), Permanent Representation of the Freistaat Bayern, Brussels, 25 November 2010
On Thursday 25 November 2010 Bram Akkermans represented M-EPLI and presented a paper on legal aspects of cross border conveyancing. The CROBECO project, which refers to cross-border conveyancing of land, is a project, funded by the European Commission which aims at increasing cross border conveyancing of land in the European Union. The project, which for now consists of a pilot between The Netherlands and Spain concerns a sale and transfer of ownership of land between two Dutch parties, that conclude a Dutch contract of sale and a Dutch notarial deed of conveyance that is sent to Spain for registration and transfer.
The project raises several very interesting questions of European private law. First of all, the project moves beyond a mutual recognition approach and aims to create a deed of transfer that is both valid according to Dutch and Spanish law. Hence, there is strictly speaking not a Dutch act that must be recognised in Spain per se, but an act, simply drawn up in another Member State, which still fulfils the requirements of Spanish law (also).
Secondly, the CROBECO project does not aim to change any applicable national law and therefore acts in accordance with the lex rei sitae principle: Spanish law governs the transfer. Moreover, the project does not aim to diminish any role of any actor in the process, but simply seeks to make clever use of existing possibilities and electronic conveyancing systems in place, to increase confidence in cross border contracting and conveyancing in respect to land.
Prof. Sjef van Erp and Bram Akkermans advice on the project and assist in the creation of guidelines to help cross border conveyancing as well as in the creation of a toolbox of standard clauses which could be used in a deed of conveyance. The guidelines will, when followed by the parties and the Dutch notary, increase confidence for such a transaction.
In the future the project might be extended beyond the Netherlands and Spain and include other Member States. Of course this will raise new challenges, for example the inclusion of title deed registration systems and the problem of the active role of the registrar. 

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