The Land Registry has opened a consultation in relation to amending the Land Registration Rules to allow deeds to be signed electronically rather than on paper.
The Land Registry states that this ‘will allow the incremental introduction of secure electronic conveyancing services and will allow the flexibility and speed that is vital in the digital world’. The technology that the Land Registry proposes using is the GOV.UK.Verify scheme and initially it is proposed that electronic signatures will be piloted with mortgages or re-mortgages, that do not involve changes in ownership.
The Law Society has said that its focus will be to ensure that the proposed scheme is ‘practical and effective and most importantly provides adequate identity and security measures’.
In practice, much of conveyancing is already carried out electronically and the introduction of e-signatures is not a game changer but it is a stepping stone towards an integrated electronic conveyancing and registration service, which should be welcomed provided robust safeguards are put in place.