Solicitors could no longer be asked to witness signatures on Land Registry forms if proposals for electronic signatures are adopted.

In a long-awaited step towards electronic conveyancing, Land Registry has opened a consultation on amending rules to allow documents to be signed online by the government’s Gov.UK.Verify process. Law Society president Robert Bourns described the move as a ‘positive step’, saying the Society had backed the use of electronic signatures last year with the publication of a practice note for commercial transactions.

‘We are considering the proposals in the rules consultation, and awaiting further important details on exactly how the proposed system will work,’ he said. ‘Our focus will be to ensure that they are practical and effective, and most importantly provide appropriate identity and security measures.’