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Monday 4th May 2020 Alex Porter 

HM Land Registry guidance to assist with verifying and executing deeds through COVID-19

Following on from my recent article on electronic signatures, HM Land Registry have introduced new temporary measures to make it easier to verify a person’s identity and to sign deeds. The new temporary measures come into force from 4th May 2020.


Previously, HM Land Registry only permitted conveyancers or chartered legal executives to verify a person’s identity.

What’s new?

The new temporary changes allow those who work or have worked in the following professions to verify someone’s identity:

  • Solicitors and barristers;
  • Bank officials and regulated financial advisers;
  • Doctors, dentists or veterinary surgeons;
  • Chartered and certified accountants;
  • Police officers and members of the UK armed forces;
  • Teachers and university teaching staff;
  • Members of Parliament and Welsh Assembly members;
  • UK civil servants of senior executive office grade or above; and
  • Magistrates.

Verification by a video call is also now permitted.

A link to the relevant Practice Guide can be found here: practice guide 67A: temporary changes to HM Land Registry’s evidence of identity requirements.


Whilst a signatory will still need to sign a deed in “wet ink” in the presence of a witness who is physically present, HM Land Registry will temporarily accept deeds signed using the “Mercury signing approach”.

What’s New?

This means the signatory can send a scan or photo of the signed signature page, together with a copy of the agreed form of the document to their conveyancer, and HM Land Registry will accept the deed executed using this method.

A link to the relevant Practice Guide can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/execution-of-deeds/practice-guide-8-execution-of-deeds

If you have any questions about how to approach electronic signatures, please contact Alex Porter by email on aporter@jpclaw.co.uk by telephone 0207 644 7273 or connect with him on LinkedIn, or Steven Porter, Partner by email on sporter@jpclaw.co.uk or by telephone 0207 644 6091 or connect with him on LinkedIn.


All articles on this website do not necessarily cover every aspect of a topic and are designed for information purposes. Reliance should not be placed on their contents without specific legal and financial advice first being taken.

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