EDISON, N.J. -- A special master appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled last week that the practice known as title-company settlement in real estate closing should be allowed to resume.

The New Jersey Association of Realtors called the ruling "a major victory" in its bid to reverse an administrative-law opinion that it believed took away freedom of choice from consumers.

The association said the opinion had added to transaction costs by mandating the presence of lawyers at or before a real estate closing by holding that duties such as placing a telephone call for a title search constituted the unauthorized practice of law.

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