With the UK on lockdown, and adapting to new ways of working, changes across different practices are being introduced to work with the current climate.

For the property sector, this includes the announcement by the Land Registry on acceptance of deeds signed using “Mercury signatures” in response to the issues presented by the pandemic, making it easier to verify a person’s identity and sign deeds for land registration purposes.

What are Mercury signatures?

Mercury signatures are signatures made by the parties to the transaction, in the presence of a witness, photos or scans of which signatures are emailed to the party’s lawyers, with the final agreed version of the deed.

This will support our commercial property team to work with our clients to get transactions completed without delay during the current lockdown. The idea was proposed some years ago by the Law Society as a way of executing deeds and, during these extraordinary times, the Land Registry have decided that they will accept deeds for registration executed in this way.

For more information, read the HMLR’s announcement here.

HMLR has made it clear that these changes are temporary and may be modified or withdrawn at short notice if, for example, they’re considered to increase the risk to the register.