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James Lancaster

Commercial Director

Person using Yoti's eWitnessing feature on laptop as per the new guidance

Electronic witnessing in line with HM Land Registry guidance

Her Majesty’s Land Registry (HMLR) has released new guidance that allows for registration transfers and certain other deeds to be signed electronically in the UK. This means that solicitors and conveyancers can now carry out the document witnessing process using Yoti eSign.   What are conveyancer-certified electronic signatures? Conveyancer-certified electronic signatures which were recently referred to as eWitnessing, like physical witnessing, is the third-party overseeing of the signer, with the added benefit of being undertaken electronically. This means that, with an eSignature platform, witnessing documents is made much easier for law firms and conveyancers alike, with processes that usually take days being completed in a matter of minutes.   The new guidance: what’s changed? Electronic signatures in the UK are currently accepted for many types of legally binding contracts and documents. However, registration transfers and deeds previously needed to be in written form and legally required a witness to be physically present during the signing. The Law Commission concluded in the new guidelines that electronically signed and witnessed contracts and documents are admissible in court provided that the signer is able to authenticate the document and that all formalities relating to the execution of the document are satisfied. You can read more about the new guidance in the UK, here.   Which documents can be signed electronically in the UK? A deed that affects one of the dispositions referred to in section 27(2) and (3) of the Land Registration Act 2002 A discharge or release in form DS1 or form DS3 Equivalent deeds in respect of unregistered land An assent of registered or unregistered land A power of attorney other than a lasting power of attorney (see Lasting powers of attorney) Guarantees Mortgage documents Shareholder agreements Loan agreements Partnership agreements Source: gov.uk (subject to change at any time)   What are the benefits of conveyancer-certified electronic signatures? With eWitnessing comes a number of the same benefits that many digital processes have, such as being more time efficient and reducing paper use. But what does Yoti eSign do differently?   Privacy is priority Thanks to Yoti’s limited document view, the signer can confidently have their documents witnessed in the knowledge that their details are blocked from view.    Safe and secure By using a one-time passcode, unauthorised people will not be able to access the document. This, alongside a secure audit trail to trace all unique identifiers of both the signer and the witness means that you ensure your documents are traceable and only in the hands of those who need it.   Compliant and legally binding All documents signed using Yoti’s eSigning are legally binding and compliant with eIDAS, ESIGN Act and UETA. The team at Yoti has also worked closely with HMLR to shape eWitnessing guidance so that we are fully HMLR compliant.   Easy and hassle-free With our flexible API and easy-to-use portal, our eSignature tools are easily integrated into your business processes to ensure simple eWitnessing.   How does eWitnessing work with Yoti? Step 1: Upload the document that requires witnessing and select the fields that are to be filled by the signer. Step 2: The signer will receive a one-time password and can then fill in the relevant details in the presence of a witness. Step 3: The witness will receive a one-time password and is then able to access the document and fill in the relevant information. Step 4: Once the signer and the witness have completed their details, the sender will receive confirmation that the document is signed, along with the time, date and details of the witness. By securely digitising your operations, Yoti’s eSignature and eWitnessing features can simplify the paper process and transform it into something much more efficient. When sending your documents electronically, you can rest assured that your confidential information is shared with the right people and the right people only.   Webinar with HM Land Registry on electronic witnessing Yoti’s James Lancaster and Sam Rowe hosted Michael Abraham and Robin Malpas from HM Land Registry during the webinar focusing on the eWitnessing legality. Want to know how your firm can benefit from eWitnessing? Contact our legal expert James Commercial Director – Legal Tech Expert +44 7956245022 james.lancaster@yoti.com Connect with James on LinkedIn “At Yoti, I work with some of the most prestigious names in the legal sector, advising on digital transformation, optimising their productivity and efficiency, cutting costs and increasing customer satisfaction.”

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Saving Ashford Council money time and trees with Yoti eSign

“Yoti Sign has helped us solve problems with staff outside of the office with no access to printers or scanners in order to sign and return documents. It’s also made things much easier for those on maternity leave or long-term sick leave. The process of signing employment contracts has been streamlined which has saved time, money in printing costs and created environmental efficiencies as well. It has also resulted in much quicker response times from those that need to sign, meaning everything gets moved along faster.” HR Manager at Ashford Borough Council   Read the full case study here.

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