According to the Law Gazette (24 April 2017), digital e-signatures have been used for the first time in exchange of contracts for a residential property transaction in England.

The e-signature exchange took place on 6 April 2017 at 3.59pm and it was used for both the sale and purchase element of the transaction.

According to Steve Toms, co-founder of Bonafidee, in order to sign a document electronically, the seller and purchaser received emails requiring them to validate a link.  Once validated, the parties would be subject to identity checks.  The parties would then receive the document uploaded by the lawyers, with an embedded code which is entered into the signature box.  The system is notified when both parties have signed.

The e-signature process alleviates the need for witnesses to witness the signing of the contract.

Do you agree that e-signatures should eventually replace the traditional paper form?  In an age of cyber-crime, do people feel unnerved by the prospect?  There will, of course, be numerous checks to ensure that sellers and purchasers are identified in order to prevent the situation whereby a person’s home is sold without their knowledge.

In a world increasingly reliant on technology, the e-signature process could well be the norm in years to come; we shall see…

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