A personal injury lawyer and IT entrepreneur claims to have taken a step towards eliminating paper signatures in legal transactions.
Users of inCase, a client relationship app developed by Sucheet Amin, managing partner of Manchester firm Aequitas Legal, can now sign documents on smartphones or tablets.
A version suited to conveyancing transactions will be available in January, Amin (pictured) told the Gazette.
Amin said the development could mean the beginning of the end for paper signatures in legal transactions: 'While digital signatures have been around for some time, no function has existed to enable clients to review documents on mobile devices, and sign their signature rather than a pre-selected font and send it back to their solicitor.'
The inCase system stores a signature made with a stylus, automatically stamped with the date and time. The firm can then check the signature against a specimen made during a client visit or sent by secure mail.
Amin developed inCase in 2012 to meet the challenges caused by the fixed-fee regime introduced under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act. It has been available as a 'white label' product to other PI firms for a year.
Meanwhile the government has begun live-testing a system which authenticates the identities of individuals carrying out official transactions online. Users of Gov.uk Verify will register with 'identity providers' who issue codes for use in transactions with HM Revenue & Customs and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the Cabinet Office said.
The system will eventually be extended to processes such as applications for lasting power of attorney which currently require a wet signature.