First electronic signature conveyancing transaction completes

First electronic signature conveyancing transaction completes

The first conveyancing transaction to complete with an electronic signature not requiring a witness, has taken place.

The top-100 firm Hugh James, has become the first conveyancer to complete a transaction with HMLR using an electronic signature not requiring a witness.

The news comes following completion of a national Land Registry pilot, to test the new qualified electronic signature (QES) process, which has been described as a “gamechanger” in signing documents.

DocuSign, the technology provider which facilitated the transaction said that a QES verified by an electronic identity check enabled the process in which the transferring of title took just 24 hours rather than the usual six to eight weeks.

QES are a form of electronic signature based on public key infrastructure encryption, which include a digital certificate that can only be issued by an approved trust service provider. This ensures that digital certification can only occur after a face-to-face identity verification process has completed.

The announcement follows the news earlier this year that electronic signatures are as secure as physical ones  accompanied by a best practice guide published to assist industry.

Nicola Evered who led the digital transformation project for Hugh James told Today’s Conveyancer:

“This was an opportunity we grasped immediately, and we welcome the chance to be at the forefront of such an innovative step-change for the entire industry. This has the potential to dramatically speed up transactions and make the whole process more streamlined. There will come a time when we’ll take a new instruction from a client, prepare the documentation, and issue the deeds for signing all in the same day. It’s exciting for us, our clients and future customers – and we look forward to continuing to support HM Land Registry with this project through to full implementation.”

Richard Jones, associate at Hugh James, also commented:

“It was hugely exciting to be a part of such an important event, which enabled us to discover how the process works in practice and what the experience was like from the customer’s point of view. It’s a significant step forward for something that everyone in the UK will experience eventually, as we move towards self-verification of deeds like property agreements, mortgage documents and business contracts.”

Doug Luftman, deputy general counsel at DocuSign, said:

“Our partnership with HM Land Registry and Hugh James demonstrates how an innovative government agency, like the HMLR, has embraced electronic signature and can positively impact an entire industry in its digital transformation journey.”

Today's Conveyancer

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