The 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 contract for the sale of a registered title requires a written contract complying with s.2 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989. This is however about to change with the introduction of e-conveyancing.
Electronic communication and commerce necessitate the use of electronic signatures and these play an important part by providing safety and reliability in e-transactions.
With regards to e-conveyancing it will involve computer interfaces with not only the Land Registry but with other government agencies and financial institutions.
The legal framework governing e-signatures is now set out in the Electronic Communications Act 2000 and was drafted with the understanding that by the late 19th century, judges had reached the conclusion that the form a signature took was not as important as its function resulting in the evidence in a dispute was most important, just as it will be if the use of an electronic signature is ever in doubt.
In 2001 electronic property information services in the UK began to take off with dial-up services providing Land Registry services to professional customers and this has progressed to an internet based service, in 2004. The Land Registry is the...