Convey Law has become the first law firm to join the government’s Document Checking Service pilot, meaning it can check information contained in UK passports against government records.
Users receive a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to whether it is valid by providing the passport number, forenames, surname, date of birth and passport expiry date.
The South Wales law firm said it hoped the initiative would have a significant impact in reducing property crime, with criminals unable to impersonate property owners to steal, sell or mortgage their properties.
Lloyd Davies, Convey Law’s managing director, explained: “This is a significant move forward for our industry in looking at solutions to keep our clients and their properties safe from criminals…
“Our IT system can now use the passport data verification from the pilot in addition to our existing biometric facial recognition processes and additional electronic data sets to identify our clients effectively.”
Mr Davies, who is also the operations director for the Conveyancing Association and deputy chairman of the Society of Licensed Conveyancers, added: “It is very encouraging to be a part of these developing government initiatives.
“After many years of campaigning, we are making progress on electronic signatures as well as the establishment of the UK digital identity and attributes trust framework, which, once finalised, will set a standard against which providers of electronic identity verification can be accredited for the first time.
“This will allow for innovation in terms of risk and identity verification and help to make our property transactions safer.”
The pilot concludes on 31 July 2021 and applications for it are now closed. Participants pay a one-off connection fee – ranging from £1,500 to £15,000, depending on the volume of checks – and then 50p per check.