One of the biggest practical issues we have been grappling with during lockdown has been getting documents circulated and signed for completion. Until now, HM Land Registry’s stance has been that they would only accept wet-ink signed documents for registerable dispositions, which includes transfers, charges and registerable leases. This has equalled a major headache, particularly where overseas parties are involved.

However, to a flurry of cheers from real estate lawyers across the land, HMLR has announced that with effect from Monday they will accept documents signed in accordance with “Mercury Option 1” - which, in brief, is where signatories attach a scanned image of their signature page together with a final agreed copy of the document on a single email and completion is effected on that basis.

More detail will follow in the form of a practice guide but, suffice to say, this is a significant modernisation from HM Land Registry and a triumph for common sense.