Paper conveyancing

The verification of identity standard for paper conveyancing is to be found in the Land Titles Registration Practice Manual edition 13.0 dated 6 October 2015 commencing at section 14 (page 505).

The standard is based on the model rules for verification of identity under the National Electronic Conveyancing program. The standard has two base requirements:

  1. The production of current, original identity documents from the prescribed categories; and
  2. Visual Verification of Identity:A visual “face to face” assessment of the identity documents and the person to whom they relate, comparing the photograph on the current original identity documents with the person being identified

Certifications must be lodged with paper dealings specifying that verifications have been done. These certifications are found at 14.4.7.4.

The standard prescribes the identity documents required in a cascading fashion. The Gold Standard being the possession of a passport and drivers licence (plus in the case of a foreign passport, a visa and rates notice). Thus obviating the need for anything else to be produced. Thereafter as less probative documents are produced more of them are required. Those presenting with a dearth of documentation are required to be accompanied to the face-to-face interview by an “Identity Declarant” who themselves must be indentified in accordance with the standard and in certain circumstances must be a member of specified professions.

The practice states (14.4.3):

Ideally, verification of identity should occur immediately prior to the execution of the document, so that the Identifier and witness, (if a witness is required), are the same person.

E-Conveyancing

Under sections 23 and 25 of the Electronic Conveyancing Act 2014, the Registrar of Land Titles determined and published the WA Participation Rules Version 3 dated 9 November 2015. The Verification of Identity Standard in the participation rules prescribe:

  1. A face-to-face in-person interview.
  2. The mortgagor must bear a “reasonable likeness” to the person depicted in photographs in the identification documents.
  3. The identification documents must be originals and be produced by the mortgagor.

The standard then prescribes the identity documents required in a cascading fashion. The Gold Standard for Australian citizens or residents being the possession of an Australian or foreign passport and Australian drivers licence. Thus obviating the need for anything else to be produced. Thereafter as less probative documents are produced more of them are required. In the absence of either a passport or an Australian drivers licence (but not both), a birth certificate plus Medicare/Centrelink/Veterans’ card can be produced or if not available and in conjunction with a passport only, another government issued identity document with a photograph provided that if the government issued identity document does not contain a photograph, a birth certificate still must be produced. Those presenting with a dearth of documentation are required to be accompanied to the face-to-face interview by an “Identity Declarant” who themselves must be indentified in accordance with the standard and in certain circumstances must be a member of specified professions. Foreign nationals must be identified using their foreign passport and some form of government issued identity document with a photograph and if the government issued identity document does not contain a photograph, a birth certificate must also be produced.

The rules adopted in QueenslandNSWVictoriaSouth Australia and Western Australia as part of the implementation of a national e-conveyancing system are near identical being based on the ARNECC model participation rules

Reconciling the two standards

Landgate issued Bulletin No. 257 | 17 November 2014 entitled VERIFICATION OF IDENTITY AND E-CONVEYANCING in which was written:

Some financial institutions have queried that the verification of identity regime, as outlined in the Participation Rules for electronic conveyancing, are different to WA VOI Practice – and as a result, they have to undertake verification of identity to different standards to meet both the e-conveyancing Participation Rules and WA VOI Practice.

This is not the case.

Both the Participation Rules and the WA VOI Practice adopt the ‘reasonable steps’ approach to verification of identity. If the verification of identity standard for e-conveyancing, as outlined in the Participation Rules, is met then the standard in the WA VOI Practice is also deemed to be met. This is because the standards are similar.

In applying VOI, the individual circumstances for each verification needs to be considered. As a consequence, the abovementioned standards are not the only ways to satisfy the reasonable steps requirement. The verifying person must take reasonable steps relevant to the specific circumstances in order to satisfy that requirement. However, if the verifying person complies with the standards, they will be deemed to have taken reasonable steps to verify the identity of the mortgagor/client.

Both standards require that the person identifying the mortgagor provide a certification in a prescribed form. It is also necessary, in the case of electronic conveyancing, for the lender to obtain a completed client authorisation form from the mortgagor. Any lenders requiring assitance in preparing their template documents for E-Conveyancing should contact Matthew Bransgrove.