Executing Plans and Associated Documents Electronically for Lodgement

18 MAY 2020


Executing Plans and Associated Documents electronically for lodgement with NSW Land Registry Services

The recent environment brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a number of difficulties in relation to the execution of documents, including plans and instruments which must be lodged for registration with NSW Land Registry Services.

As a result of these difficulties, NSW Land Registry Services and the Office of the Registrar General have advised that, for a temporary period, it will be permitted for Plans and Section 88B Instruments to be signed electronically, foregoing the usual requirement for a paper signature. Paper signatures can still be used if practical.

A series of interactive forms for deposited plans, strata plans, community plans, administration sheets and 88B instruments have been released and are available from the NSW LRS website to make this process easier.

How to validly sign a document electronically?

In accordance with the Electronic Transactions Act, any electronic signature (which can be made by printing the name of the signing party or using an electronic signature platform such as DocuSign) must meet the following requirements:

  1. Identity – a method needs to be used to identify the person sufficiently;
  2. Reliability – the method used to sign must be as reliable as appropriate; and
  3. Consent – all parties must agree to the use of electronic signatures.

The plan or instrument should also contain a statement to the effect of: “Electronic signature of me, [insert name] affixed by me, or at my direction, on [insert date].”

NSW LRS has also advised that documents which would generally require multiple parties to sign on the same page can instead be signed with multiple signature pages due to the difficulty of all parties being in one location.

Witnessing via audio visual link

Witnessing of signatures may also now take place via audio visual link in accordance with recent amendments to the Electronic Transactions Act. The person witnessing via audio visual link must adhere to the following for the witness to be valid:

  1. They must see the person signing in real time via audio visual link;
  2. Attest or otherwise confirm the signature was witnessed by signing the document electronically;
  3. Be reasonably satisfied the document the witness signs is the same document; and
  4. Endorse the document with a statement specifying the method used to witness, and that the document was witnessed in accordance with the Electronic Transactions amendment (COVID-19 Witnessing of Documents) Regulation 2020.

If you believe you could benefit from these changes, or intend to proceed with the lodgement of a Plan or Section 88B Instrument in the coming months, please contact Peter Crittenden, the Partner in charge of our Property department, to discuss further on (02) 4626 5077 or pcrittenden@marsdens.net.au

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

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