In May 2018, By Lawyers released a new Contract of Sale of Land for Victoria in response to the challenges faced by lawyers and conveyancers. Our General Manager of Content, Alex Kelly, sat down with the key contributors from By Lawyers to find out more.

In the below podcast you will hear insights from:

  • Russell Cocks, co-author of the new form of contract
  • Guy Dawson, co-author and By Lawyers CEO and Editorial Director
  • Danni Larney, By Lawyers Managing Director

A summary of the 7 reasons to use the new contract

1. The Contract and Vendor’s Statement are combined into ONE document, with the Vendor’s Statement, logically, coming FIRST. The Vendor’s Statement is formatted in such a way as to deal with the obligatory fields first and then group the optional fields in a way that makes removal of those fields simple if they are not required.

2. Particulars of Sale in the Contract includes a “sunset date” for off the plan approval. No more searching through mountains of Special Conditions.

3. Non-derogation warranty. General Conditions can be amended by Special Conditions BUT not such as to reduce the rights created by the General Conditions. No more contracts that say one thing on page 1 and reverse that on page 15. This Contract is fair to both parties; if someone wants to create an unfair contract they cannot hide it within this contract.

4. General Condition 12 – deposit release. Establishes a clear protocol for release by requiring timely objection to title.

5. General Condition 14 – loan condition. Extends time for approval to 21 days and allows for extension, subject to vendor’s ability to end the extension by notice.

6. General Condition 25 – losses. Removes disputes relating to default losses from the settlement process and allows the parties to resolve these issues after settlement.

7. General Conditions 27 and 28 – default and rescission notices. Divides the process into two steps with specified legal cost in respect of notices.

There are also other improvements, such as simple off the plan and electronic conveyancing conditions, a requirement that a vendor produce a copy lease at settlement and a clause passing ownership of abandoned goods to the purchaser. This Contract continues the quest commenced by the 2008 Contract (remember Requisitions?) to simplify conveyancing by ironing out the speed humps.

Perhaps the most important reason why you should adopt this contract is that is has been written by Russell Cocks, who has brought to the task 40 years of hands-on Victorian conveyancing experience and Guy Dawson of By Lawyers, arguably the most read legal author in Australia today.

If you have opted into By Lawyers with your LEAP subscription, you can access the By Lawyers Contract of Sale of Land from the Contract folder in the Sale of Real Property Guide. For more information email Alex Kelly at