Important changes to the witnessing requirements for Titles Registry instruments and revised Land Title Practice Manual

September 19, 2019

The Natural Resources and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (NROLA) included amendments to sections 162 of the Land Title Act 1994 and 311 of the Land Act 1994 which relate to the witnessing of Titles Registry instruments executed by individuals. These amendments are expected to commence later in 2019.

New and revised practice requirements have been developed to reflect the upcoming changes and provide additional guidance for witnesses.  A new standalone part of the Land Title Practice Manual (LTPM), Part 61, has been created for this purpose.

To give witnesses time to understand the practical effect of the amendments and review their processes the draft Part 61 – Witnessing and Execution of Instruments or Documents with these updated witnessing practice requirements has been made available.

Key as​pects of the new Part 61 of the LTPM include the following:

  • guidance for witnesses on the requirement to take reasonable steps to verify the identity of an individual executing an instrument and inclusion of practices which, if complied with, will result in the witness having taken reasonable steps to verify the identity of the relevant individual
  • guidance for witnesses on the requirement to take reasonable steps to ensure that the individual is the person entitled to sign the instrument.
  • guidance for witnesses on the requirement for a witness to keep, for a period of 7 years, either (a) a written record of the steps they took or (b) certain other evidence.
  • revised practices for witnessing outside Australia including revised certifications to be completed by witnesses and deposited when an instrument is lodged.

Please note that the new Part 61 of the LTPM is a draft only and some internal references may need to be updated and other minor revisions made when the legislative changes have commenced.

A further alert will be sent later in the year advising when the witnessing requirements referred to in the new Part 61 will commence.

Disclaimer: The information herein has been prepared by SAI Global Property Division Pty Ltd ACN 089 586 872 from information released by the Authority cited on this page. It is provided as general background information only; it is not complete; and it does not comprehensively address this subject matter. Readers should not consider the information so provided as advice nor as a recommendation to take any particular course of action. Persons needing advice should consult their own solicitor, accountant or other professional adviser.

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