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18-Jul-2017 07:46

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Simple contracts and deeds typically contain a clause expressly allowing the document to be executed in counterparts.There are often difficulties, especially for larger international contracts, in getting all signatories to a contract together in one room to sign the contract.A contract is made binding on the date that both parties intend that it is to come into effect, which is typically evidenced by both parties signing the agreement.There is no requirement for the signature to be witnessed.Specific wording should also be included above the signature blocks.Simple contracts and deeds are often executed in counterparts.In order to clarify the legal position, guidance has been issued by the Law Society Company Law Committee and the City of London Law Society Company Law and Financial Law Committee.This guidance should be borne in mind when making arrangements for closings or signings, especially where some parties are looking to sign documents virtually because they are unable to attend the meeting in person.

However, an explanation often given by the person wanting to backdate the document is that the document is merely meant to reflect an oral agreement that has already been made and that this is just a way of documenting it.That is, the signature pages are prepared and executed in advance and the signatures are "released" upon mutual agreement, often given by email.However, there has been some controversial English case law suggesting that, in some circumstances, contracts and deeds executed virtually may not be enforceable.In short, the safest course for both simple contracts and deeds is for the parties to exchange by email pdf copies of executed signature pages together with – in the same email - a Word or pdf version of the whole agreement that has been executed.

If you have any questions on this article or would like to propose a subject to be addressed by Synapse please contact us.Alternatively, is there a way of legally trying to achieve the required objective?