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The Government has announced its intention to modify the Land Registration Rules 2003 in order to facilitate the introduction of fully digital conveyancing.

The Land Registry consulted on the possible changes back in 2017, including the use of digital documents with electronic signatures, and announced on 23 January 2018 that the changes have been approved.

The amended rules, which come into effect on 6 April 2018, allow for registered transfers to be carried out using digital documents and electronic signatures. Identity checks will be carried out using the Government Digital Service in addition to the regular paper checks by the conveyancer. Although this will only be available in relation to some types of transfers initially, it is an important step in the Land Registry’s digital modernisation to make conveyancing simpler, faster and cheaper.

The amended rules have also made provision for online access to historic information about a registered property. This tool will provide a useful way to unravel issues relating to complex titles, and in tracing ownership in contentious cases.

Chief Executive and Chief Land Registrar Graham Farrant said: “Our customers are central to everything we do and we want to make dealing with us quicker and simpler by providing more services through digital technology. These changes are an important enabler for our digital transformation and I want to thank our customers for their positive responses to the consultation.”

The Land Registry advised they will meet their target to digitise and automate 95% of their daily transactions 2022 by “focusing on automating the most straightforward updates and aspects of the complex processes where possible and beneficial. This will save experienced caseworkers from needless copy typing, data entry and repeat administrative work, freeing them to focus on exercising expert judgement on registration applications”.

The Land Registry’s full press announcement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hm-land-registry-moves-forward-with-digital-conveyancing