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  • Seldom are witnesses legally required to have been present at a signing in order for a judge to establish that a document is valid.
  • Deeds must always be witnessed.
  • Witnesses where not legally required, can provide additional evidence in the event a signature is disputed.
  • See also DeedsSignatures and Written evidence
  • It is the signature of the parties that is being witnessed, not the legal accuracy or efficacy of the contract or document.
  • Witnesses often want to read the document but this is not required and may not be desirable if confidentiality is an issue.
  • Witnesses, where legally required, must be physically present and actually observe the acts of signing by the parties.
  • Should a witness become distracted by say a mobile phone call during the signing, this could invalidate the validity of the witness and the document being signed  - if it is a deed or a will.
  • Therefore, it is vital to insist that any witnesses momentarily switch off their mobile phones and pay undivided attention to the matter in hand - namely the pen creating the signature.
Published: 11 November 2013 Last Updated: 17 November 2021