Execution formalities—witnesses
Execution formalities—witnesses

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

  • Execution formalities—witnesses
  • Witnesses
  • HM Land Registry requirements

This Practice Note summarises the execution formalities for witnesses, in particular it considers who can act as a witness to the signature of another person on a document relating to a commercial transaction.


Who can be a witness?

There are few limitations as to who can act as a witness to the signature of another person on a document.

There is no prohibition on a spouse, co-habitee or civil partner acting as a witness to an individual signing a document. In order to ensure independence and avoid any allegations that the document has been improperly executed it is, however, advisable to use alternative witnesses.

Minors can also act as witnesses. However, as this raises issues as to the maturity of the witness and whether they understand the purpose of their actions, it is best to avoid using minors as witnesses.

For documents which are to be signed by multiple individuals the same witness(es) can attest all of the signatures, but signatories should never attest each other’s signatures. For example, two directors signing a deed may each have their signature attested by a common witness but the directors should not act as witness to each other’s signatures.

On the rare occasion that more than one deed is utilised to enact linked transactions,