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E-conveyancing will not happen overnight

I was recently asked for an update on the Land Registry’s e-conveyancing initiative. My enquirer pointed out that having heard a fair amount in 2007 and early 2008 about the Land Registry’s intention to revolutionise the conveyancing system, they had heard little since.

The Land Registry did indeed announce ambitious plans to overhaul conveyancing. It carried out consultation exercises looking into the use of e-signatures and electronic funds transfer.

This culminated in 2007 with the launch of a six-month Chain Matrix prototype, which gave the Land Registry a taste of what was involved in implementing large-scale public and private sector initiatives.

Feedback made it realise that a big bang-style overhaul of the conveyancing system was not the best way to proceed and instead it opted to implement changes on a drip-feed basis.

To date, it has launched a number of services including electronic discharges and an e-lodgement service, which is being piloted with a number of users.

This year, the Land Registry is planning to pilot an electronic charge, which will be the first electronic deed and form part of a remortgage package for lenders. One of the benefits is that borrowers will be able to sign the deed over the internet.

The e-conveyancing revolution isn’t going to happen overnight. Conveyancing is suited to the world of electronic communications, but to make the system work well, the Land Registry is going to need co-operation from private sector firms.”

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