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22 May 2020

New Rules for Signing Deeds and Other Documents due to COVID-19

Since the mandated lockdown commenced, it has been difficult to have documents signed due to self-isolation and working from home. That has caused a delay in the completion of legal documents.

The Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response – Wills and Enduring Documents) Amendment Regulation 2020 (Regulation) commenced on Friday 22 May.

The process for the signing of affidavits, declarations, oaths and affirmations, deeds, powers of attorney and some mortgages has now been simplified.

In relation to deeds, the Regulation provides:

  1. An instrument that is to have effect as a deed may be made in the form of an electronic document and may be electronically signed.
  2. An instrument that is to have effect as a deed may be made in the form of an electronic document by or for a person even without consent to the making of it in that form from another signatory or any other person.
  3. An instrument that is to have effect as a deed may be electronically signed by a person even without consent to the signing in that way from any other person who is to sign the deed.
  4. An instrument that is to have effect as a deed for an individual or a corporation may be signed by or for the individual or corporation by signing a counterpart or true copy of the instrument.
  5. The counterpart or true copy signed by a person need not include the signature of any other person who is to sign the instrument.
  6. If the counterpart or true copy is electronically signed by a person, the counterpart or true copy need not include any material included in the instrument about the method used for electronically signing the instrument.

An instrument that is to have effect as a deed may be signed in accordance with this division whether or not in the presence of a witness.

To reflect that documents were signed during the pandemic, and to minimise the possibility of future disputes, it would be prudent to note that they were signed under the Regulation.

 


Individual liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation (personal injury work exempted).

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