Property law

Property Law and Conveyancing

Securing your home or property

Miller Harris Lawyers offer competitively priced conveyancing and property law services delivered by experienced conveyancers and lawyers.  Property purchases, sales and developments are integral parts of modern Australian family life and are areas in which the experts at Miller Harris Lawyers have extensive experience, knowledge and specialist accreditation.  Our property lawyers and conveyancers understand the Cairns and North Queensland property market and can advise you on the potential risks and opportunities relevant to your property transaction.

We understand that purchasing or selling property is often one of the largest and most important transactions of your life. We make it easier and less stressful for you to achieve your property dream.

Our conveyancing services are summarised below with further details on the full suite of property law services we provide set out at the bottom of this page.


Conveyancing is the process of transferring the legal title of a property from one person to another and it is not as simple as many people are led to believe.   Simple mistakes can end up being very costly in the long run. Our conveyancing lawyers know the tricks and traps and will ensure that your sale or purchase is as easy and stress-free as possible.  No two conveyancing transactions are the same with each having its own particular risks and considerations.  Having worked in Cairns for many years, our conveyancing lawyers have an in depth understanding of the Cairns property market.  This knowledge is at your disposal and means we can also advise you on the risks relevant to particular residential areas in Cairns and the broader North Queensland region.

We can also provide you with a fixed fee quote up front so you have certainty regarding the cost of your conveyancing transaction.

Buying a property

Buying a property is often the single biggest financial decision many of us will make in our lifetime.  That’s why it is important to engage a conveyancing lawyer early in the process.  We can provide advice before you sign a contract so that you are fully aware of the risks and obligations before the conveyancing process begins.  Getting the contract right from the outset is an important step in ensuring your rights are adequately protected.   It is also critical to consider in advance, whether the contract will be conditional upon finance, building inspection, pest inspection or other factors and to ensure this is adequately documented in the contract itself.   We can also assist with drafting any special contract conditions you may require or that are unique to your prospective property and can also advise you on the implications of any special contract conditions the seller may be insisting upon.

Once the contract is in place, we guide you through the conveyancing process.  This includes advising you on the steps involved, likely time frames, key deadlines and the potential risks and road blocks that may be encountered along the way.  We undertake and review the relevant property searches to ensure you will be able to gain clear title to the property and also to identify any impediments to the property transfer.

Our conveyancing lawyers prepare and/or review the settlement statement and calculate any settlement adjustments (council rates for example) that may be required.  We liaise with your financial institution as required and facilitate the exchange of monies at settlement.  We also attend settlement on your behalf and advise you when the property has been transferred.

Throughout the process, we represent your interests with the seller (and their lawyer or agent where required) including submitting requests for extensions on contract conditions (finance, building and pest inspections etc) and coordinating the settlement process.

Selling a property 

Selling a property is not a process that ends once the contract has been signed.  At this point, many people fall into the trap of believing the conveyancing process is a ‘formality’ and it can come as an unwelcome shock when a problem is encountered.  That’s why it is important that the conveyancing process itself is actively managed to ensure your rights are protected, particularly if the buyer defaults.

We can advise you on the contract before it is signed including any potential risks associated with the contract conditions and the time frames for when these need to be satisfied.  We can also prepare any special conditions that may be unique to your particular property or personal circumstances.

Once the contract is signed, we manage the conveyancing process for you including keeping track of deadlines associated with contract conditions and communicating with the buyer’s solicitor to ensure these are satisfied.  Where a contract condition is not met, we advise you on the implications, alternative courses of action available to you and the associated risks.

In the lead up to settlement, our conveyancing team liaises with your financial institution (where relevant) to ensure any mortgage on the property will be able to be discharged at settlement.  We also prepare and/or review the settlement statement including the calculation of any adjustments contained therein.  We attend settlement on your behalf and facilitate the exchange of the relevant documentation.  We also coordinate the distribution of settlement proceeds in accordance with your instructions.

Throughout the process, we represent your interests with the buyer (and their lawyer) including receiving any extension requests and discussing these with you.

Choosing Miller Harris Lawyers means you have the peace of mind of knowing that your conveyancing transaction will be actively managed by our team throughout the process and that you will be kept fully informed at all times.

We offer legal advice and services for:

Residential conveyancing

We act for property buyers and sellers to ensure the conveyancing process is as smooth and stress free as possible.  Work with the team who understand that Cairns property market.

Property development purchases and sales

Undertaking any kind of property development needs to be done in consultation with a qualified and experienced solicitor. At Miller Harris Lawyers, we know the development industry and we understand what makes projects work. You can rely on our expertise to minimise your risk and maximise your project’s potential for success. 

Leasing of retail, commercial, industrial and farming properties

Regardless of the nature of the property, a good lease depends on the detail. Miller Harris Lawyers will delve into the detail to make sure that your business or property is secure, and that there are no nasty surprises. We can help with new leases, subleases, assignments and variations.

Mortgages and other finance documentation

We can help you to understand your contractual obligations relating to any mortgages or finance arrangements required to undertake your property purchase or development.

Flat land and strata title subdivisions

Over the years we have assisted our clients to develop thousands of lots throughout North Queensland. We understand the development process from start to finish, and can support you every step of the way.

Development structuring

Prior to commencing any kind of property development, consideration needs to be given to the investment vehicle which will undertake the venture. Failure to do so can result in unnecessarily high risk, high tax liabilities as well as a range of practical issues and problems. We can review your circumstances and provide advice on the best option for you and your goals.

Development approvals and planning appeals

We can offer you informed advice about the development approval process, from initial concept through to lodgment of the application, submissions, decisions and appeals.

Body corporate and community title issues

At Miller Harris Lawyers, we know body corporate and community title issues inside out. We can help with establishing or winding up schemes, advise about body corporate management issues, bylaws, disputes and development.

Due diligence in relation to property transactions

From planning and title considerations to environmental and tenancy concerns, Miller Harris Lawyers can assist you to make sure you are getting what you expect, without any nasty surprises.

Meet the experts in
Property Law and Conveyancing

Nigel Hales


Nigel is the only Queensland Law Society accredited property law specialist in Cairns.

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more about Nigel

Lauren Doktor


Lauren works in the areas of commercial and property law

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more about Lauren