A signed A&I form gives a lawyer or conveyancer authority and instruction to lodge a dealing for registration under section 164A of the Land Transfer Act. By signing the form, a client is agreeing that all details provided are correct.
The A&I form is prepared by the firm on behalf of their client, who signs the form to authorise the transaction. An authority is required from every party involved in the dealing.
This must be completed before certifying and signing the instruments in your dealing.
The same compliance review requirements apply to A&I documentation as to other documents relating to the transaction – that is, you must keep them on file for 10 years.
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.
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.
Establishing proof of identity
As the practitioner certifying the transaction, you are responsible for taking all steps necessary to verify a client’s identity. You need to obtain:
- An original, current photo ID – such as a passport or a New Zealand government-issued driver’s licence or firearms licence
- For transfers and mortgages of unencumbered land, a document showing the landowner’s name and the physical address of the property – such as a rates bill, bank statement or power bill provided by your client. If you know the client personally and can vouch for their identity, this is not needed.
For high-risk transactions, such as new clients, non-resident landowners or transactions involving mortgage-free land, you’ll need to take some extra steps to verify identity.
If practical, you should personally witness the A&I being signed. As the signing practitioner, you are ultimately responsible for the certifications made in the dealing.
However, if it is not practical to witness the signing, it can be witnessed by someone else. The witness needs to be at least 18 years of age and must not be a party to the transaction. They do not need to be a lawyer, but they do need to be an independent, trusted professional and not a friend or family member . You need to be comfortable that the client’s identity has been established as outlined above.
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 should keep a file note or other written record outlining your reason for relying on a particular delegate, if it is not obvious from the delegate’s occupation.
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 (NZLS) website – you can customise the templates to suit your firm’s needs.
There are 3 types of form, so make sure you use the form that is suited 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).
Download an A&I form template from the NZLS website (You can only access this information if you are an NZLS member)
> My client has no photo ID
> My client's photo ID has expired
> My client is bankrupt
> My client is overseas
> My client’s name on their photo ID doesn’t match the name on their title
> My client’s identity is being confirmed by someone else
> I already know my client
> I’ve created my dealing without an A&I
You need to obtain A&I before certifying your dealing.