Q&As

Are mixed signings permissible? For example where one party to a deed signs a counterpart in wet ink and another signs a counterpart with an electronic signature; where one counterpart is wet ink signed and the other counterpart is signed by virtual means (a Mercury signature); or where one counterpart has a Mercury signature and the other counterpart has been signed with an electronic signature.

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Produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 03/09/2020

The following Property Q&A Produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Are mixed signings permissible? For example where one party to a deed signs a counterpart in wet ink and another signs a counterpart with an electronic signature; where one counterpart is wet ink signed and the other counterpart is signed by virtual means (a Mercury signature); or where one counterpart has a Mercury signature and the other counterpart has been signed with an electronic signature.

The practice of electronic signing of documents has risen in popularity in recent times, and has accelerated further as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This has come to be known as the 'Mercury Signing Approach', which was initially proposed by the Law Society in 2009 in a Practice Note: Execution of documents by virtual means (updated in May 2020). In its 2019 report, Electronic Execution of Documents (Law Com No 386), the Law Commission endorsed the Mercury approach. This involves a scanned manuscript signature being added to the final version of the deed, and is of use where all parties to the transaction completed by deed are not present. The Mercury approach is distinct from an electronic signing of a document.

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