First electronically signed Transfer of Equity

In case you missed it, the Law Society Gazette reported at the beginning of June 2022 that Hugh James Solicitors became the first conveyancer to complete a transaction with HM Land Registry with an electronic signature which does not require a witness. This has the potential to significantly reduce the period of time taken to convey a property (on average now 8 weeks).

It used Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES), which are a type of electronic signature based on public key infrastructure encryption. They include a digital certificate which can be issued only by an approved trust service provider (TSP) that issues such digital certification only after a face-to-face (either in-person or remote) identity verification process. A Law Commission working group found in February 2022 that these sort of electronic signatures can be at least as secure as physically witnessed ink signatures on documents such as deeds. This indicates the way things will go in the future, we think.

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