Given our duty and goal to protect the health of those working in our office space, our clients, and the general community, we are implementing more aggressive distancing protocols in relation to document execution with clients.
The intent of this protocol is to allow for the avoidance of unnecessary risky social interactions within our office space, and to eliminate the need for any physical contact with documents between clients, lawyers and office staff. That being the case, the following are the rules, processes and procedures at Scharfstein Gibbings Walen Fisher LLP in relation to the execution of documents with clients until further notice:
Remote Execution of Documents Via Electronic Means: As of March 26th several pieces of legislation and regulations were amended by the Government of Saskatchewan and the Law Society has sanctioned Remote Execution of Certain Documents Via Electronic Means during the current state of emergency to limit the risk to lawyers, staff and clients. The procedure for this method will be as follows:
1. The client(s) will be sent an email and/or courier a package containing full copies of all documents and signature pages only. Note that if affidavits or sworn statements are included in the documents, the jurat must be amended to include the wording “via electronic means”;
2. The client(s) can review the package and discuss any questions they have on the documents with lawyers or assistants prior to signing or during the electronic meeting;
3. The client(s) will send pictures of both sides of the required identification to our office as well as provide us with their occupation;
4. The client(s) then make an appointment for witnessing by electronic means with a lawyer. Acceptable electronic means are defined as “an electronic method of communication that includes both audio and visual aspects, such that the lawyer and signator can both hear and see each other during the course of the meeting and the execution of the document”. (eg: Facetime, Skype, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, etc.);
5. Once the Lawyer and client(s) engage in the electronic meeting session the lawyer must comply with the following requirements:
- verify the identity of the client(s) during the session by requiring the client(s) to display photo ID next to their face on screen and taking a screen capture or screen shot of the same;
- observe the client(s) signing the documents;
- require the client(s) to immediately send to the lawyer an electronic image of the documents signed by the client(s).
- once the lawyer receives the electronic images from the client the lawyer must witness the documents and send copies of the witnessed documents to the client.
- the lawyer must complete the form Certificate of Lawyer, Documents Witnessed by a Lawyer during a Public Emergency Period Clause 27.4 of the Land Titles Regulations, 2001 (if Land Titles Documents are Signed); and
- the lawyer must complete Law Society form PD1 [March 26, 2020] Declaration of Lawyer Who Has Witnessed Documents Via Electronic Means.
Curbside: The “drive up witnessing” or “curbside” procedure set out by the Law Society of Saskatchewan can be utilized if a client cannot be accessed by acceptable electronic means. The procedure will be as follows:
- The client(s) will be sent by email and courier a package containing full copies of all documents (signature pages only) and a self-addressed pre-paid postage envelope;
- The client(s) can review the package and discuss any questions they have on the documents with lawyers or real estate assistants prior to signing;
- The client(s) will send pictures of both sides of the required identification to our office as well as provide us with their occupation;
- The client(s) then make an appointment for witnessing. At that time we will explain the signing protocol to them and send them an email reminder of how it works;
- The clients will drive up to a parking spot near the Scotia Centre entrance on 2nd Ave (or another agreed upon location);
- The lawyer will go down to where the clients have parked.
- The client(s) will leave the windows of their vehicle up and sign the signature pages of the documents in their vehicle with the lawyer witnessing from a distance through their window. It is important that vehicle windows remain closed at all times, so that there is no physical interaction between the lawyer and client(s) during signing.
- Once the pages are signed by the client(s) the clients will immediately take pictures of the signature pages and email them to our office.
- Once receive and printed, the lawyer can then sign the signature pages as witness.
- The client(s) will then use the pre-paid postage envelope to send the originals back for us to have on file if needed.
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