The latest step towards fully digitised and faster conveyancing has been taken following the launch of DocuSign’s new electronic ‘witnessed signatures system’.
Revealed during a Zoom event yesterday both DocuSign and the Land Registry said it would ease one of the major bottlenecks in the conveyancing process, contract signing. This will also help prevent the kind of delays seen during the pre-Stamp Duty sales rush.
“We believe this is a real game changer for the residential property sector and lawyer are getting really excited about this in a way tech doesn’t usually engage them,” said Katherine Crowley, Practice Development Manager at law firm Womble Bond Dickinson, which has been trying out the tech.
She says that, because many of the documents in the property purchase process can be signed or witnessed on the same day and without having to do long-winded explanations about how it works, as previous tech required conveyancer to do, “it’s a win-win as far as we’re concerned,” she says.
During the launch Crowley went on to say that by using e-signatures and virtual witnessing, her practice was able to turn around over 80% of documents within a day.
“If we were still relying on paper, then it would be between two days and a week to get a signature back; the DocuSign system has speeded things up enormously.”
She also said that it meant tracking the conveyancing process is now much easier with this system because everything is digital.
“When people are on your back asking when they are going to complete, with ‘wet signatures’ you really didn’t know whereas now we can give an accurate answer by looking at the dashboard.”
Doug Luftman from DocuSign, said: “Manual witnessing has always added an additional layer of complexity, often leading to protracted completion. This has been heightened by the pandemic, which is why property lawyers breathed a sigh of relief when the Land Registry announced changes in regulation that would allow the use of electronic witnessed signatures (WES).”