HM Land Registry announced that from Monday 27 July 2020, it will accept ‘witnessed electronic signatures’: electronic signatures that enable an individual to sign legal documents, but which still require a witness who is present at the time to also sign the documents electronically.
This proof of concept is based on the requirements for electronic signatures for the execution deeds as set out in section 13.3 of practice guide 8. Further information can also be found in the HMLR blog article Electronic signatures in practice along with the associated press release HM Land Registry to accept electronic signatures.
Docassemble is a free and open-source web application for creating guided interviews. We use Docassemble to automatically populate a standard TR1 Form and then push the completed form into Docusign for electronic signature using the Docusign API.
Each transferor and their witness signs the document in turn in Docusign, having completed 2FA (Two Factor Authentication). Depending on the responses during the Docassemble interview, the transferees then also sign (along with their associated witnesses).
Whilst SMS was used as the 2FA method in this example, Docusign also supports Access Codes, Phone Authentication and Knowledge-Based authentication for recipient verification, which could be used for people for which SMS authentication is unsuitable.
In addition, when HMLR roles out its Digital Signature requirements, it should be possible to build on top of this implementation and make use of Docusign’s digital signatures, as well as its ID Verification tool.
The code for the guided interview has been published under an open source license and you can check it out at the PyPi repository here:
Whilst TR1 forms were the focus for this Docassemble walk-through, Docassemble could be used for a wide range of form filling, process and document automation for conveyancing transactions.
If you want to try the interview for yourself you need:
- a server running docassemble
- to follow the instructions in the PyPi library above to install the interview on your server
If you are interested in seeing a working demo, but don’t have a Docassemble server yet, get in touch with me (Matt) at email@example.com and I’ll share a link to our demo server.