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E conveyancing – A casualty of the recession?

02 Dec 2010

The Land Registry has always made it clear that the introduction of E-conveyancing was to be treated as a “work in progress”. It has recently completed its third consultation. Arising out of this the draft Land Registry (Electronic Conveyancing) Rules 2011 will permit the use of electronic transfers, which will utilise electronic signatures and extend the use of electronic legal charges.

The only type of disposition that can be currently undertaken electronically is the creation and registration of a legal charge. This can only be done if the charge is a specially created charge of whole by private individuals. The first mortgage to be signed electronically (an‘e-charge’) was completed in March 2009.

It is anticapated that by the end of 2011 a new electronic transfer (‘e-transfer’) will be available. Conveyancers and their clients will be permitted to elect how a document is signed. An e-transfer could be signed by the parties themselves or by their lawyers as their authorised agent.
The Land Registry has indicated that once e-transfers and e-charges are introduced then it sees this as the completion of the e conveyancing project.

The Land Registration Act 2002 laid the foundations for the introduction of a system of e-conveyancing. The original aim behind e-conveyancing was to make conveyancing easier for all, with an electronic system that would make buying and selling property less stressful for the general public and conveyancing professionals. Experience has shown that the conveyancing process is extremely complicated and that it cannot easily be converted from paper into an electronic system.

The Land Registry had originally intended to create a chain matrix system, initially to allow participating conveyancers to see other parts of the chain and ultimately to provide a mechanism for exchange and completion as well as the passage of funds through an electronic funds transfer service.
The Land Registry has now decided to leave the development of a chain matrix and electronic transfer of funds to other organisations.

For more information please contact Colin Sim : Colin.Sim@hay-kilner.co.uk