Execution of Deeds with Electronic Signatures

Year Published: 2020

As COVID-19 continues to impact the ability for individuals and businesses to work and sign documents, the Land Registry has introduced further changes to allow conveyancing Deeds to be executed using electronic signatures rather than in person.

In order to register a “disposition” at the Land Registry, you are required to submit a copy of the completed and executed Deed that creates the disposition, along with an application to change the register of the Property.

By way of example a “disposition” can be:

  • The Transfer of a Property;
  • A Lease of a Property; or
  • The creation of a Charge to be secured against the Property.

Traditionally, the execution of a Deed has always been done with a wet-ink signature in the presence of a witness who must then “attest” the signature with a wet-ink signature of their own.

Three Types of Electronic Signatures

In July of this year, however, the Land Registry began accepting electronic signatures on conveyancing Deeds which removes the requirement for paper and wet-ink signatures in the conveyancing process.

There are three types of electronic signatures which can now be used:

  1. A Witnessed Electronic Signature;
  2. A Qualified Electronic Signature; or
  3. A Mercury Signature.

Each type of signature has a different process involved as to how the Deed is to be signed and the acting Conveyancer in each case is still required to verify the identity of the party executing the Deed.

The introduction of electronic signatures marks the next step towards implementing a truly digital conveyancing process in the future, and is more than likely to form part of its foundations.

The Land Registry have advised that they will continue to work with both customers and technology providers to improve the systems in place so as to ensure that the process works well for everyone.

Further information in relation to when and how the electronic signatures can be used can be found within the Land Registry Practice Guide 8.

For more guidance regarding the execution of deeds with electronic signatures, please contact Ben Thomas on 01244 305952 or email [email protected].

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