Guidance on Executing and Signing

January 2020

Contracts and Deeds are only valid if they are executed and signed correctly. If you have ever wondered if you are following the correct formalities to sign a contract and/or a deed, and/or whether they can be signed electronically, two new subfolders have been added to the Property Folder which contain helpful Guidance Notes on this topic. These Guidance Notes are practical guides to getting it right when it comes to the process of executing agreements.

In today’s modern high-tech corporate world, people want to make extensive use of modern IT facilities whenever possible, both for convenience and speed. They do not want to be held back by having to create and sign documents in the traditional way. Fortunately, the law allows use of electronic means to enter into valid and legally binding contracts, and in some instances, deeds. Please note that those documents which are required to be registered at the Land Registry still require “wet ink signatures” and cannot be executed electronically.

The Guidance Note: Formalities for Signing Deeds and Contracts looks at the different types of written contracts and their features and also provides helpful signature blocks for use by individuals, companies, attorneys, partnerships and LLPs when signing agreements and/or deeds to make sure they are valid whoever is required to sign.

The Guidance Note: Electronic Signature of Deeds and Contracts looks at which contracts, deeds and other documents will be valid if in electronic form and signed electronically (rather than in hard copy form) and how they may be created and signed in such form.

The Law Commission issued a report in September 2019 on electronic execution of documents. These Guidance Notes take into account the conclusions and views of the Law Commission’s recent report.

If you read both Guidance Notes together, they will help you to decide whether and how you can validly create and sign a document electronically.

You will find these Guidance Notes in the Business and Corporate Folders.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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