Qualified Signatures Find Their Way into the UK


Last year, the HM Land Registry pledged to come up with a signing process that did not include in-person meetings or paper handling. This goal came with a push from the pandemic itself, but we already see that qualified electronic signatures (QES) have an important role to play. 

The HM Land Registry already accepts QES for non-mortgage deeds - it was first used to seal a property deal this September. But the innovation train moves on, and the UK is growing very fond of all-things eIDAS.

Broader adoption of qualified signing in land registration would affect millions of people who buy and sell properties in the UK every year.  


Qualified signing needs no witness

Accepting electronic signatures as a safe and reliable alternative to paper handling was only the first step for the UK. The HM Land Registry is now taking a second look at the registration of deeds - a practice that dates back more than a hundred years. Their goal is to eliminate a physical witness from the signing process. This initiative addresses Section 91 of the Land Registration Act 2002, which accepts electronic signatures in a document that operates as if it were a deed.


“When you sign a document using a qualified electronic signature, your identity is verified by a ‘qualified trust service provider, which could replace the assurance that is usually provided by the witness. When verifying your identity and creating the signature, the qualified trust service provider must meet a strict set of standards outlined in legislation known as eIDAS”, the HM Land registry explained in a public statement.


Innovation brings new challenges


As a trusted provider of QES that matches the eIDAS regulation, this October ZealiD joined the discussion about the current challenges that the HM Land Registry is facing. We noted two major issues that are slowing down the adoption of QES in the UK: 

  1. The remote identification process is complicated and expensive for all signatories
  2. The cost of QES is “too high” for leading conveyancers


Cost-effective solution is within arm’s reach


Providing natural persons with qualified signatures is the central element of our business. Tailoring our service to the UK market, built a unique innovation in ZealiD app to serve use cases like deed signing remotely. 


ZealiD readily fulfils the requirements for Qualified Trust Service Providers in the UK and the EU. We offer in-app registration for a qualified signature that takes only 4 minutes. After completing this step, our users receive a free qualified certificate within 6 minutes. It allows you to sign any document - including registering deeds with HM Land Registry.


Documents are displayed in PDF format and can be validated using Adobe reader or the “DSS” tool provided by the EU (and used by the HM Land Registry). This means that all parties - signed or not - can easily confirm the identity of the signer. In other words, using QES in remote signing guarantees a direct link between the signer and the signed document.


Easy transition for Docusign users

Most conveyancers who could benefit from our service use Docusign. Conveniently, ZealiD is readily available as an integrated partner on this platform. After setting up an envelope in Docusign, select ZealiD in the drop-down menu of signing options and execute the document signing as usual. All signatures are completed in seconds using a Docusign QR code and FaceID on the ZealiD app.


Our service is widely available and cost-effective. ZealiD costs are borne by the party who sets up the envelope for signing. To those who are just getting started with qualified signatures and ZealiD in Docusign, activation takes 24 hours.


Learn more!