Conveyancing Association launches guide on digital and e-signatures

The new guide aims to help conveyancing firms identify acceptable signatures

Conveyancing Association launches guide on digital and e-signatures

The Conveyancing Association (CA) has launched a new guide to help firms understand and utilise digital signatures, electronic signatures, and e-signature platforms.

The guide clarifies the differences between digital and electronic signatures and outlines what is acceptable to HM Land Registry, including Mercury signatures, conveyancer certified signatures, and qualified electronic signatures.

It also advises firms on communicating with clients about the importance of digital signatures and the options available, highlighting the differences between wet-ink and digital signatures.

The leading trade body for the conveyancing industry encourages firms to collaborate with lenders to understand their requirements regarding digital signatures. The CA is part of a UK Finance-chaired working group aimed at enabling lenders to include digital signature acceptance in their Part 2 responses to the UKF Lender Handbook, which is being digitalised this year.

The guide – now available for download on the CA website – also encourages firms to stay updated with guidance from HM Land Registry and to consider adopting the simple electronic signature platform approach as a step towards more advanced digital signature solutions. Firms must assess the suitability of these solutions for their clients and cases, considering that the future of digital signatures may include qualified electronic signatures.

“The use of digital and electronic signatures within the home buying and selling process has the potential to provide a variety of benefits, not just in terms of helping tackle potential fraud – a significant risk for conveyancing firms – but also with regards to helping speed up the whole process, given that securing signatures can be both labour and time-intensive, not to mention reducing the 30% of requisitions raised by HM Land Registry because the parties’ names, witness details or choice of witness are incorrect for the execution of the deed,” said Beth Rudolf (pictured), director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association.

“Having a quicker and more secure way of doing this clearly brings benefits, but this is also an area that is changing, and could change further in the future with a move towards qualified electronic signatures. It therefore makes sense for us at the CA to launch an initial guide for firms in this area which we will update as and when required, but can also be used as a strong starting point in terms of firms educating themselves.”

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