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It was later discovered that the partners’ signatures on these deeds had not been validly witnessed, as required under the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989.The additional liability for Gleeds to fund the scheme, owing to the deeds having been invalidly executed, was in the region of £45 million.If that document was later required to be produced in evidence, an English court would accept the composite version. In February 2010, the Law Society published a practice note on the execution of documents by virtual means, which represents its view of good practice.When executing a simple contract between two parties which are not physically present at the same meeting, it is acceptable to use pre-signed signature pages.It is best practice for the witness to be physically present when the signatory signs the deed.
Below we answer ten questions that are commonly raised in relation to the execution of deeds and documents. English law lays down few formalities for the form of a contract and almost all simple contracts, even those which statute requires are “in writing” or “signed”, can be executed electronically.The document could instead, though, be signed by the director in the presence of a witness.The recent pensions case, illustrates that the consequences can be severe.There is no such presumption for execution by an individual.Clear wording in the document confirming the position on delivery will avoid confusion and unintended consequences.