All transactions lodged via e-dealing must be authorised by the client. A signed authority and instruction (A&I) form gives a lawyer or conveyancer authority and instruction from their client to lodge a dealing for registration under section 27 of the Land Transfer Act 2017.
By signing the form, a client is agreeing that all details provided are correct. Practitioners must also take reasonable steps to verify the identity of the client signing the A&I form.
When lodging an electronic instrument, practitioners certify that they have:
- the authority to act for the party and that the party has the legal capacity to authorise them to lodge the instrument, and
- taken reasonable steps to confirm the identity of the person who gave them authority to lodge the instrument.
The A&I form is prepared by the firm on behalf of their client, who signs the form to authorise the transaction. A&Is must be completed before certifying and signing the instruments in your dealing.
When you need an A&I
In dealings, every party must authorise the transaction. You need to complete an A&I for all parties that you represent. As the practitioner, you are certifying that you have authority to act for your client and have verified their identity.
The Instruments page (link below) has details of which instruments require an A&I. You need to complete an A&I for all parties that you represent. As the practitioner, you are certifying that you have authority to act for your client and have verified their identity.
Before making these certifications, you must satisfy the requirements for obtaining authority and verifying identity set out in the Authority and Identity Requirements for E-Dealing Standard 2018 - LINZS20018 (E-Dealing Standard) and Authority and Identity Requirements for E-Dealing Guideline 2018 - LINZG20775 (E-Dealing Guideline).
A single A&I can be used to authorise a combination of instruments over a title/s – if you do this, make sure you clearly set this out in the form.
For some instruments – such as mortgages or discharges by banks – a letter of instruction from the bank takes the place of an A&I.
The legal obligation to verify identity is an essential safeguard against identity and property fraud in conveyancing transactions. Practitioners must ensure clients are properly identified to manage the risk of improper dealing or identity fraud.
As the practitioner certifying the transaction, you are responsible for taking all reasonable steps to verify a client’s identity and, where applicable, seek further evidence and make further enquiries.
High risk transactions
A high risk transaction is one where the risk of improper dealing or landowner identity fraud is high. Before certifying an electronic instrument, you must make an overall judgement as to whether it is a high risk transaction, taking into account anything about the transaction or the client.
You need to identify whether the transaction is high risk. If it is, you need to take additional actions to verify identity and/or authority.
If practical, you should personally witness the A&I being signed and verify the identity of the client.
However if it is not practical to do so, you may rely on a trusted colleague or a delegate to verify the identity of the client on your behalf. A witness must be 18 years or over and independent of the client and transaction. No matter who carries out the identity verification checks, as the signing practitioner, you are ultimately responsible for the certifications made in the dealing and the adequacy of the checks performed.
The E-Dealing Guideline sets out ‘Safe Harbour’ and ‘Equally Effective Means’ approaches for witnessing A&I forms.
If your client’s identity has been confirmed by someone else, such as another practitioner at your firm, you’ll need to keep records showing that the person witnessing the A&I is an independent and trusted person. You must keep a file note or other written record outlining your reason for relying on a particular delegate,
If you are unable to meet with your client face to face, you may be able to verify identity using audio-visual technology.
- General witnessing criteria (see section 4.5)
- Delegating identity verification (see section 4.6)
- Using audio-visual technology in limited circumstances (see section 4.7)
Ensuring your client has legal capacity
You need to ensure your client has legal capacity to sign an A&I and enter into the transaction, or that you hold the necessary orders or consents. For example:
- For private individuals – the client is not a minor or an undischarged bankrupt;
- For private or public corporates – the client is not subject to any statutory management orders, in receivership or liquidation.
You should exercise special care when an A&I is executed under a power of attorney or by a Property Manager appointed by the Family Court. Due to the nature of powers of attorney and the risk of their misuse, authorities given under a power of attorney are considered high risk.
Read section 3 of the E-Dealing Guideline for more information about the standard requirements for authority certifications and assessing a high risk transaction.
How to complete an A&I
You need to prepare an A&I form and have it signed by your client before you certify the dealing.
It’s easy to complete an A&I in Landonline, as part of your dealing, or you can download A&I templates from the NZ Law Society's Property Law Section website. You can customise the templates to suit your firm’s needs using the A&I forms generated in Landonline for your transaction minimises duplication errors.
There are 3 types of form, so make sure you use the form that is required to your client(s):
- Private Individual
- Private Corporate (e.g. a non-publicly listed company or an incorporated society etc)
- Public Corporate (e.g. a publicly listed company, territorial authority or government department).
Before you can submit an e-dealing transfer, lease or mortgage of land which is or could be Māori land, you must give certifications that either:
- any statutory provisions specified by the RGL relating to Māori Freehold Land have been complied with, or
- any statutory provisions specified by the RGL relating to Māori Freehold Land do not apply.
If the land is Māori Freehold Land, you must obtain confirmation (or whatever else may be required) from the Māori Land Court, under Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993. If confirmation is required, you will also need to lodge an image of the Māori Land Court confirmation notice when lodging the dealing and retain the confirmation with your A&I.
The Registrar-General of Land (RGL) routinely monitors compliance with the E-Dealing Standard and Guideline (and other RGL standards and guidelines) through the compliance review process.
The A&I form, photo ID and any other evidence specified in the E-Dealing Standard and Guideline must be retained as evidence to support the certifications you have made for 10 years after the date on which the instrument to which the certification relates was lodged for registration in accordance with regulation 7(6) of the Land Transfer Regulations 2018.