This Guidance Note: Electronic Signature of Deeds and Contracts provides an
explanation of the legal basis for creating and executing certain types of
contracts, deeds and other documents electronically, taking account of the
Law Society’s 2016 and Law Commission’s 2019 legal opinion and guidance on
In view of the effects of COVID 19 on the practical ability to execute documents using manual signatures, you might wish to actively consider using virtual execution (including the use of e-signatures) as highlighted in this guidance note. Please click here to see the Law Society’s guidance on Covid-19 and execution of documents.
As explained in this Note, in certain situations, not only will many
documents in electronic form be valid and binding as if they were in hard
copy form, but also an “electronic signature” appended to them will be as
valid as a traditional signature. This Guidance Note: Electronic Signature
of Deeds and Contracts also defines what is meant in
law by “signature”, “electronic signature” and “in writing” for present
As an exception to this guidance about electronic documents, the Land Registry has its own requirements for documents to be filed with it. You are advised to check the Land Registry’s guidance at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/execution-of-deeds, or seek advice from a legal professional, before drafting and executing any document that is to be submitted to the Land Registry.
It is also important to note that where a deed needs to be signed in the
presence of a witness, the witness should be physically present for the
signing of the document, even where the signature is made electronically.
This Guidance Note refers to, and in effect supplements, the Guidance Note:
Formalities for Signing Contracts in this subfolder. If you read both
Notes, that will help you to decide whether and how you can validly create
and sign a particular document electronically.
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