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First digital mortgage deed entered in Land Register

HM Land Registry has announced the entering of the first digital mortgage deed into the Land Register by Coventry Building Society and Enact Conveyancing. This registration comes as part of HM Land Registrys plans to transform the conveyancing market through quicker and simpler digital services and improved use of technology, making transactions quicker and simplifying the home buying process. Yashmin Mistry shares her views on this here:

'Law technology has impacted many aspects of the legal field, from private practice to courtroom operation.  As advances in law technology revolutionise today’s legal landscape, the role of the legal professional and statutory bodies has also evolved.  Today is a historical day with the first digital mortgage being entered into by the Land Registry. 


The new digital mortgage scheme has been tested by Coventry Building Society and Enact Conveyancing.  The process will no longer require a purchaser to sign a pen-and-paper mortgage deed in the presence of witnesses. The new form of registration confirms users' identities through GOV.UK Verify, the government's online verification service with execution by electronic signature.


This process is all part of the Land Registry’s plans to lead the way in terms of “speed, simplicity and an open approach to data” thereby improving the conveyancing transaction process with the use of technology in an effort to simplify the home buying process.


Whilst simplifying and speeding up processes using technological advances can clearly lead to a positive outcome, the risk of online fraud must still be considered and minimised.  Last month saw the much-awaited appeal hearing in the cases of Dreamvar (UK) Limited -v- Mishcon De Reya  and others and P & P Property Limited -v- Owen White & Catlin LLP and others before the Court of Appeal with the resultant judgment awaited.  The cases involved innocent purchasers who themselves were in no position to prevent the frauds taking place. 


There is no doubt the conveyancing landscape is changing and the introduction of the first digital mortgage exemplifies this. However there are potentially even more traps and pitfalls for conveyancers to be wary off.  To guard against property fraud, as part of the CQS Protocol it may be sensible to look at the possibility of making it compulsory for buyer’s to take out fraud insurance on every transaction.  The insurers would, of course, have any claim subrogated to them so that if any of the professionals or statutory body are proved to be at fault then the insurance company would still be entitled to pursue a claim against them. 


The suggestion is not a perfect answer to the problem which may or may not be foreseen with the digital mortgage deed introduction and also should not be seen as a reason for any of the parties to a transaction to be any less vigilant. However what it does, at least, is provide a fairer means of dealing with those involved should fraudulent activity arise within the digital mortgage process.'

This article was written in response to LexisNexis requesting Yashmin's views on this subject, as an expert in her field. Visit Lexisnexis.


Yashmin Mistry is Partner and Property Practice Group Leader.

Please contact her for more information. 


T: 020 7644 7272

General Enquiries:


T: 020 7625 4424


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