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Electronic Signatures And Their Use In Electronic Conveyancing

1752 words - 8 pages

IntroductionThe birth of electronic signatures could said to have began with the 'fax machine' this medium of electronic communication and electronic signatures changed the way businesses operated in 1980's.With the expansion of the Internet and computers in the 1990's the implication of a two way interaction on a stable, speedy, inexpensive, worldwide network would drastically change the way companies could perform their business. The one fall back was security, the internet by its very nature was any information displayed or sent was vulnerable, and the answer to this vulnerability lies in cryptography.The current system for selling and buying registered titles is paper based and a ...view middle of the document...

The Land Registration Act 2002 (LRA) came into effect in October 2003 and secondary legislation needs to be drafted and passed by Parliament to give effect to those legislative provisions.The Land Registry' aim is that e-conveyancing will be fully operational by mid 2007 and will only apply to registered titles unless the transaction triggers compulsory registration.With the introduction of e-conveyancing all stages in the conveyancing process will be carried out electronically under the supervision of the Land Registry. This will involve the creation of all the required documentation being carried out online. The buyer and seller will prepare and agree all the terms in an electronic contract and automatic validation checks will compare the contract data with the Land Registry data and electronic messages will indicate any discrepancies and /or omissions.The conveyancer will record on the system the stage reached on each transaction by data being recorded on a "chain matrix" available in the Land Registry and posted on a web site. This will enable conveyancers and the Land Registry to check the progress of all transactions linked together in a chain. By using e-conveyancing it will allow the chain to become more transparent and simplify the conveyancing process of synchronising exchange and completion dates.At contract stage there will be an electronic equivalent of contracts. Contracts will be exchanged electronically when the buyers and sellers conveyancers have signalled that agreement between the parties has been reached and contracts have been signed and released for electronic exchange. The Land Registry will provide for the automatic exchange of contracts.In order to achieve this, conveyancers will need to have electronic signatures simply because an electronic document cannot be signed by hand in the same way as a sheet of paper and also it will be necessary to authenticate electronic communication as commerce will necessitate legal recognition of electronic signatures.The signal for the completion and immediate registration of title is given by the Land Registry and this will have the following advantages; certainty and immediacy of registration, no late registrations and protection of all parties.Electronic SignaturesThe legal framework governing e-signatures is now set out in the Electronic Communications Act 2000 and Statutory Instrument 2002 No 318, The Electronic Signatures Regulations 2002, followed the passing of the E-Signatures Directive by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union which was to give a legal basis to e-contracts and the recognition that needs to be afforded electronic signatures and the need have properly constituted certification authorities.An electronic signature is the application of an electronic substitute for a hand-written signature. In order for electronic signatures to work effectively they must not only be able to unequivocally confirm the identity of the other party, but also...

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