Execution formalities—overcoming impairments, disabilities and language barriers
Execution formalities—overcoming impairments, disabilities and language barriers

The following Commercial guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Execution formalities—overcoming impairments, disabilities and language barriers
  • Inability to read or comprehend documents in writing
  • Signature in foreign characters
  • Physical disability or illness preventing signature
  • HM Land Registry requirements

This Practice Note provides practical guidance on how to arrange the execution of a document by an individual when that individual has an impairment or disability, or where the individual does not speak the same language as their adviser. For general guidance on execution of contracts and deeds, see Practice Notes: Deeds and Executing documents—deeds and simple contracts.

Inability to read or comprehend documents in writing

An impairment may mean that the signatory is unable to read a document for themselves. For example, signatories who are partially-sighted or blind. It could also be the case that the signatory does not read or speak the language in which the document is written. Furthermore, it should not be assumed that because the signatory is a fluent speaker of a language, their reading skills are at the same level. It may well be the case that the signatory speaks a language competently, but finds reading that same language incredibly difficult.

The steps taken to ensure that the signatory is familiar with the content of the document will depend on the situation. The following actions could be appropriate to make the content of a document accessible and understandable to a signatory: