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What next for the execution of documents in Scotland? Scott Burns, partner at CMS Cameron McKenna, comments on a Bill before the Scottish Parliament which he says will make it easier to finalise transactions in a practical and timely way.
A Bill to make provision about execution of documents in counterpart and the delivery by electronic means of traditional documents and for connected purposes.
The Bill is intended to enable the execution of documents in counterpart (both traditional paper form documents and electronic documents). Execution in counterpart means that different parties to the same document can sign separate copies of it, rather than all having to sign the same piece of paper. The Bill also provides for the delivery of traditional paper documents by electronic means (for instance, by e-mail, memory stick, disc etc) rather than by hand or by post.
The Scottish Law Commission has referred to evidence that execution in counterpart is already competent in Scotland according to old case law. However, this has not been the generally accepted view in practice, and lawyers have avoided execution in counterpart for fear of invalidity. There is no concept of deeds in Scotland.
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