Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has issued an outline of its view of the use of videoconferencing or Skype for verification of identity.
It says that while witnessing in person is generally the preferred approach, LINZ and the New Zealand Law Society's Property Law Section consider the use of videoconferencing or Skype to be an acceptable practice where the lawyer or conveyancer who will be certifying and signing the transaction in Landonline:
(1) Has known their client for more than 12 months;
(2) Has a copy of their client's current photo ID on file (the original having previously been sighted); and
(3) Is able to clearly see their client and confirm what documentation is being signed.
LINZ says that when adopting the approach, the witness certification in the A&I form should be modified (or a further certification added) to indicate that video conferencing was used and to confirm that each of the above conditions are met.
It says witnessing an A&I form involves not only verification of client identity but also of their legal capacity and bona fides. The videoconference witnessing session must be abandoned if the lawyer or conveyancer:
- has any doubts whatsoever as to the identity or capacity of the client;
- has any concerns that the client may be acting under duress or at the direction of another person; or
- is unable to clearly see and confirm what documentation is being signed in the course of the videoconference session.
LINZ says this advice should be read in conjunction with the LINZ Identity Verification Standard (LINZS20002) and the New Zealand Law Society Property Transactions and E-Dealing Practice Guidelines.