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Land Registers and Law Societies to give evidence to Draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill Committee

The Draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill Committee will hear evidence from Companies House, Registers of Scotland, Land Registers of Northern Ireland, HM Land Registry, Law Societies, and the Society for Licensed Conveyancers, on Monday 11 March.

The Committee was appointed to consider and report on the Draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill. The draft Bill would establish a public register, held by Companies House, of the beneficial owners of overseas entities that own or purchase land in the UK, and require that overseas entity to identify their beneficial owner, disclose that information to the register, and update the information for the register annually. Non-compliant (registered) entities will be restricted by the land registries from making certain land dispositions.

Giving evidence to the Committee at 4.30pm will be:

  • Martin Swain, Director of Policy, Strategy and Planning, Companies House
  • Jennifer Henderson, Keeper of the Registers, Registers of Scotland
  • Jonathan McCoy, Deputy Registrar, Land Registers of Northern Ireland
  • Chris Pope OBE, Chief Operations Officer, HM Land Registry

Questions are likely to include:

  • What can Companies House do to ensure that the information held in the proposed register is correct, and that this information will enable the public to identify the beneficial owners of UK land?
  • What processes will be in place to identify and report suspicious activity?
  • Do you think that the Bill's objectives will be achieved consistently across the UK? 
  • What resource implications will this Bill have for your organisation?
  • What changes, if any, would you make to the draft Bill?

Giving evidence to the Committee at 5.15pm will be: 

  • Valerie Holmes, Chair, Society for Licensed Conveyancers
  • Philip Freedman CBE QC, member of the Law Society of England and Wales' Conveyancing and Land Law Committee
  • John Sinclair, Law Society of Scotland

Questions are likely to include:

  • Is the drafting of this Bill sufficiently user-friendly for parties to property transactions and those who advise them?
  • Your members will have to advise overseas purchasers of UK land about the obligations under this Bill. Are the provisions sufficiently clear?
  • Will it be obvious to conveyancers acting for purchasers whether an overseas vendor is a legal person under foreign law?
  •  What impact will the Bill have on conveyancing? Will purchasers need to undertake additional checks?
  • Do you see any loopholes within the draft Bill that would allow overseas entities to avoid declaring their beneficial ownership information?

The session will start at 4.30pm in Committee Room 4 on Monday 11 March. 

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