Verification of Identity
On 27 April 2015 the Registrar-General issued policy guidelines regarding practitioners verifying the identity of their clients. Section 273A of the Real Property Act 1886 (SA) provides that the identity of a party to a document that is intended to be registered in the Lands Titles Office must be verified. It is important to note that the verification process is not the same as the standard 100 points of identification used by banks and other institutions. It is possible to not have enough documentation to complete the verification process but be able to complete the 100 points of identification with a bank.
This verification of identity (VOI) process involves the client producing certain identification documents at a face to face meeting with the practitioner and at that meeting the practitioner must be satisfied that the client is who they purport to be.
Although reasonably straightforward, the process involves the practitioner sighting and taking a copy of the original passport and drivers licence in order to satisfy the requirements. Complications can arise however where a client does not have a passport or birth certificate.
If a client does not have, a passport (note that a passport can be expired as long as it has been expired for under 2 years) or a birth certificate then a third party will be required to complete the process. The client must bring to the interview a third party (called an identifier) who has known them for over 12 months, is not a relative, and is not a party to the transaction the verification is being conducted for. The Identifier must also complete the verification process which will include executing a statutory declaration (called an Identifier Declaration) declaring that the client is who they purport to be.
If a client does not have a birth certificate then the identifier must be from a designated class of person. The identifier must have one of the following occupations:
- Bank Manager;
- Community Leader;
- Court Officer;
- Medical Practitioner;
- Land Council Officeholder;
- Local Government Officeholder;
- Public Servant;
- Legal Practitioner;
- Conveyancer; or
- Police Officer
This can make the process quite challenging, as the client is still required to have known the identifier for 12 months.
Fortunately, despite the potential complications, most verifications are conducted without significant difficulty and Identifier Declarations are not often required. Obtain a birth certificate through the state Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry assuming Australian born. Where a client was born overseas, a birth certificate may be more difficult to obtain.
Clelands Lawyers can provide further information on any queries you may have when you are required to complete a VOI.
Tim von Einem