Backdating deeds

Delivery fixes the date from which the executing party is bound by the deed, and once delivered, a deed is irrevocable in the absence of an express right of revocation.

backdating deeds-4backdating deeds-79backdating deeds-17

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.The best way to deal with delivery of a deed is to have clear wording in the document setting out that the deed will be delivered on the date appearing at the head of the document.Where a deed is executed by a company, legislation provides that it is presumed to be delivered on execution, unless a contrary intention is proved.Commonly, deeds are executed on behalf of a company by a director of that company in the presence of a witness who attests the signature of the director.

The Law Society’s practice note states that if that witness “genuinely observes” the director signing the deed using an electronic signature, and the witness then goes on to sign the adjacent attestation clause, the deed will have been validly executed.Therefore a witness should be independent and it is best practice to interpret this widely.A witness should not be the signatory’s spouse or partner or a family member, and should not have a personal interest in the provisions of the document.Gleeds was a partnership that operated a final salary pension scheme.Over a period of more than fifteen years from 1991, a number of deeds of amendment were executed making significant changes to the pension scheme, including closing the scheme to the future accrual of benefits.This is because fewer formalities must be complied with when executing a simple contract.