If a set of proposals by the Land Registry are approved, paper property deeds may finally be replaced by electronic documents.
A consultation was released by the Registry yesterday, containing its plans to allow conveyancing to be done entirely electronically, through amendment of the Land Registration Rules 2003.
Designed to provide customers with more options for using Land Registry services, the proposals within the consultation aim to align the conveyancing process with Registry’s digital strategy.
Chief Executive and Chief Land Registrar, Graham Farrant, highlights this within the consultation itself, summarising:
“To support our digital programme, the Land Registration Rules 2003 (‘the Rules’) need updating in several aspects, mainly to:
- allow for fully digital conveyancing documents with e-signatures
- introduce new statutory services requested by our customers
- allow for more flexibility as to when we are open for business and open to the public
- bring the Rules up to date to reflect the modernisation and simplification of our services
- make small improvements to assist our customers and correct clerical errors in the Rules.”
The suggested changes aim to improve communication and enable all parties to benefit from the advantages of a digital system in general, including usability and speed.
Within the document, the executive summary highlights the key aims of the suggested changes to the Land Registration Rules 2003, or ‘the Rules’.
These are set out in the first point as follows:
- allow for fully digital conveyancing documents with e-signatures for land transactions and land registration and revoke existing rules allowing only for limited digital mortgages
- revoke the Land Registration (Proper Office) Order 2013 and make consequential amendments to the Rules
- allow for the introduction of new statutory services identified as beneficial to our users through user research
- reflect how we have modernised and simplified our services through digital transformation
- allow for more flexibility as to when Land Registry is open for business and open to the public
- make some minor improvements in the Rules
- correct some clerical errors.
Point two of the summary also references the intention to revoke the Land Registration (Electronic Conveyancing) Rules 2008 as these will become “superfluous as a result of the changes”.
However, point three stresses that the consultation is “not a radical review of the Rules”. It states that whilst the Land Registration Act 2002 is being reviewed by the Law Commission, this would not be appropriate.
Instead, they believe that the “proposed rule amendments are the minimum” required in order to pursue their Business Strategy. This is reliant upon the result of the commission’s work.
Responses to the Land Registry consultation must be received by the 5 April.