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HM Land Registry makes temporary changes on identity verification, allows ‘Mercury signing approach’ for deeds

HM Land Registry has introduced temporary changes when verifying a person’s identity and for signing deeds, effective from 4 May.

The agency said it was regularly reviewing its practice, policy and procedures, and taking guidance from customer feedback, during the coronavirus outbreak.

HM Land Registry said that in addition to conveyancers and chartered legal executives, verification could now be undertaken by people who work, or have worked, in certain professions including:

  • retired conveyancers, chartered legal executives, solicitors and barristers 
  • bank officials and regulated financial advisers
  • medical doctors, dentists and veterinary surgeons
  • chartered and certified accountants
  • police officers and officers in the UK armed forces
  • teachers and college and university teaching staff
  • Members of Parliament and Welsh Assembly members
  • UK civil servants of senior executive officer (SEO) grade or above
  • magistrates

The verification can also be done by way of a video call, it said.

Further details on these changes are available in the Land Registry’s new practice guide 67A: temporary changes to HM Land Registry’s evidence of identity requirements.

HM Land Registry said it will also now accept deeds that have been signed using the ‘Mercury signing approach’.

“This means that, for land registration purposes, a signature page will need to be signed in pen and witnessed in person (not by a video call). The signature will then need to be captured, with a scanner or a camera, to produce a PDF, JPEG or other suitable copy of the signed signature page. Each party sends a single email to their conveyancer to which is attached the final agreed copy of the document and the copy of the signed signature page,” it said. 

Practice guide 8: execution of deeds has been updated with more information.

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