Convey Law, a member firm of the Conveyancing Association (CA – the leading trade body for the conveyancing industry – has facilitated the first ever electronic e-signature exchange of contracts for a residential property transaction in the UK.
The exchange happened on Thursday 6th April at 15.59pm with the conveyancers and their clients at Convey Law using the Bonafidee e-signature facility to sign the contract for both the sale and purchase element of the transaction. Bonafidee are an Affiliate member of the CA.
The Bonafidee system allows both lawyers to upload the agreed contract to the Bonafidee system, which is then sent to the seller and the purchaser clients for them to sign electronically.
The Bonafidee system provides confirmation that the document has been read and signed with a code taking the place of a signature.
Armed with both parts of the contract, and having acted on both sides of the transaction, Convey Law Conveyancers’ Josh Grey and Bethany Summers exchanged contracts under Law Society Formula B for exchange.
Convey Law Legal Director, Gareth Richards, commented:
“The Bonafidee system provides an excellent facility for conveyancers as it allows for an agreed form of contract to be uploaded and then signed easily using an electronic signature by the seller and the purchaser. Agreeing contract terms is often undertaken over the telephone by conveyancers and, in many circumstances, the document that you receive from the conveyancer on the other side of a transaction can look very different from the contract that you have sent out. The Bonafidee system allows for an agreed form of contract to be uploaded and then sent to the clients for them to sign. The e-signature requires confirmation that the client is who they say they are and hence proof of identity verification is always important as a prefix to this procedure.
“This is definitely a significant step in the right direction in relation to e-conveyancing and we are delighted to have been a part of this Conveyancing Association initiative in revolutionising the conveyancing process. The clients are now far more happy in dealing with documents and signing them electronically than they ever have been in the past and we see this very much as the future, as other conveyancers come to terms with using this technology with their clients.”
Bonafidee co-founder, Steve Toms, added:
“We are delighted that our award-winning, innovative technology is now being used by conveyancers to help speed up the house buying process and reduce the threat of identity theft and fraud. Paperless processes not only save time and money but also add rigor and compliance with an audit trail that records the actions taken during the signing process.”
Operations Director for the CA and Managing Director at Convey Law, Lloyd Davies, said:
“This initiative follows on immediately from the Conveyancing Association White Paper on modernising the conveyancing process. Effective proof of identity and electronic signatures are a key component part of bringing conveyancing into the 21st Century. Using electronic signatures to exchange contracts was not difficult, as witnesses are not required for this part of the conveyancing process. It is not difficult to see how electronic e-signatures can replace the need for deeds, which currently need to be witnessed by another individual once the appropriate proof of identity and verification checks and balances are in place.
“At the Conveyancing Association AGM at the House of Commons on Monday 3rd April, we asked 100 Conveyancers in the room how many of them checked the identity and authenticity of witnesses to deeds. It would not come as a surprise to any conveyancer that none of the conveyancers put their hands up to acknowledge they authenticated witnesses. We have all overcome issues in the past with over reliance on autographs to sign documents. The recent chip and pin facility for credit cards took some getting used to and it is now widely acknowledged that this is a far safer method of confirming authentication than the autograph signature process. An autograph, written signature – and a witness – can be easily forged. It is not so easy to forge the identity on an electronic signature which has gone through a series of rigorous identity and password code procedures.
“Thank you to everyone at Convey Law and at Bonafidee for their hard work in making this revolutionary conveyancing event a reality.”
For further information on The Conveyancing Association including how to join, please visit: www.conveyancingassociation.org.uk
This article was submitted to be published by The Conveyancing Association as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.