When buying a house, one of the most significant moments for the parties involved is the signing of the contract documentation. Until recently, the Land Registry would only accept the original “wet” signature to the documentation to reduce the risks of fraudulent transactions.
However, due to the recent lockdown restrictions, wet signatures have become increasingly more difficult to obtain due to postal delays, a solicitor’s inability to see their clients in person and difficulties with printing and scanning. This led to an increase in demand for the Land Registry to accept electronic signatures.
As a result, the Land Registry are now accepting electronic signatures however the signature must be witnessed by another party who is a present at the time of signing who will also have to sign the document electronically.
Not only will this help in the current climate, it is also a strong step towards modernising legal processes and keeping up with technological advances. It will also ensure that solicitors can work with clients over long distances as they will be able to correspond via email and finalise the transaction without relying on the postal service or having to travel long distances.
The hope is that, in the near future, electronic signatures will become more commonplace which will significantly modernise the conveyancing process and help to keep legal transactions up to speed with technological advances.