On 11 October 2021, the Real Property Amendment (Certificates of Title) Act 2021 commenced, which abolished the Certificates of Title (CTs) and the control of the right to deal (CoRD) framework. All existing CTs have been cancelled and CTs will no longer be issued. Existing CTs will not need to be produced, and CoRD holder consent will not be required, for a dealing or plan to be registered. All existing Guidelines subject to this change are currently being reviewed and will be updated to reflect these changes. For further information regarding the abolition of CTs, please see https://www.registrargeneral.nsw.gov.au/property-and-conveyancing/eConveyancing/abolition-of-certificates-of-title


The following applies to Real Property Act dealings, Water Access Licence dealings and the General Register.

Any witness to the execution of a dealing or other instrument must be a person who:

  • is at least 18 years of age
  • is not a party to the dealing or instrument and
  • was present at the signing of the dealing or instrument.

In respect of each witness, the full name and street address (a PO Box is not acceptable) must be stated except in the following cases:

  • a witness attesting the affixing of a company seal is not required to provide an address but must disclose his/her position within the company and
  • a witness who is a prescribed functionary is not required to provide an address where appropriate details of the witness's appointment are disclosed, e.g. in the case of a justice of the peace, his/her registration number.

Real Property Act dealings

The witness to the execution of a Real Property Act dealing in addition to the above requirements must be an eligible witness in terms of sections 12E & 117 of the Act, i.e. is in accordance with the participation rules made under the Conveyancing Rules – see section 6.1.3 and has:

  • known the person signing more than 12 months or
  • has taken reasonable steps to ensure the identity of that person.

Section 6.1.4 of the Conveyancing Rules provides that a witness is to be considered to have taken reasonable steps if the witness, in respect of the person signing, has sighted:

  • an original of a primary photographic identification document or
  • an original of a primary non-photographic identification document and an original of a secondary identification document.

Note  Documents must be current, except for an expired Australian Passport which has not been cancelled and was current within the preceding 2 years.  Any doubts see Supervisor/Team Leader. 

General Register

The Conveyancing Act 1919 does not specify that the name and address of the witness to a instrument registered in the General Register must be disclosed. Usually the name and address of the witness is not required, but can be requested for identification purposes, e.g. where the signature of the witness is illegible.