It has published draft practice guidance on the process with a call for feedback. It is also taking steps for qualified electronic signatures – a form of digital signature – to be used when working with it.
Mike Harlow, the organisation’s deputy chief executive and deputy chief land registrar, said the plans have been accelerated by the coronavirus lockdown, which prompted Land Registry to bring together a group of regulators, trade bodies, conveyancers, lenders and estate agents to discuss the immediate issues. It has also carried out research of the market in electronic and digital signatures.
The draft guidance on electronic signatures – which covers those replacing pen and ink with a signature on an electronic platform – includes a six-step signing and dating process with the scope for one party to sign in wet ink if necessary. Among the requirements is that all parties agree to the process, have conveyancers acting for them, and that a conveyancer is responsible for setting up and controlling the process through the platform.