Hugh James is the first conveyancer to complete a HM Land Registry transaction with an electronic signature – but no witness.
The transaction was possible thanks to a qualified electronic signature, which was verified by an electronic identity check. The process of transferring title took 24 hours rather than the usual six to eight weeks.
Richard Jones, associate at Hugh James, said: “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.”
Qualified electronic signatures (QES) 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.
Doug Luftman, deputy general counsel at DocuSign, which provided the technology, said its partnership with HM Land Registry and Hugh James had demonstrated how an innovative government agency embraced an electronic signatures and could positively impact an entire industry.