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An instrument is validly executed as a deed by an individual only if it is signed by them in the presence of a witness who attests the signature. The witness must be present at the time of execution—it is not sufficient for the witness to attest the signature separately at a later date (section 1(3) of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 (LP(MP)A 1989)). Alternatively, it may be signed at their direction but only if it is signed in their presence and the presence of two witnesses who each attest the signature. To ‘sign’ a deed is non-exhaustively defined in LP(MP)A 1989, s 1(4) as an individual ‘signing the name of the person on whose behalf he executes’ and ‘making one’s mark on the instrument’. See Practice Note: Deeds.
In respect of witnessing, the Law Society Practice Note on execution of a document using an electronic signature (Law Society Practice Note) provides that:
‘In the opinion of leading counsel and the JWP, where a suitable signatory
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