News story

Witnessing of deeds

Clarification of our practice on attestation process where there are multiple signatures.

We recently updated section 2.1.2 of Execution of deeds (PG8) to remind customers that, where two or more people are executing a deed as a party, the same witness may witness each individual signature but each signature should be separately attested.

This is the case unless it is absolutely clear by express wording on the face of the attestation that the witness is witnessing both or all signatures in the presence of the named signatories.

This is not a change to our practice so much as clarification and application of the relevant law. It has to be clear that all the signatures were contemporaneously witnessed, and that all the signatories had the requisite intention to execute the instrument as their deed, so as to meet the requirements of ss.1(2) and 1(3) of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 and rule 206 of the Land Registration Rules 2003.

We will be raising a requisition where a deed has only a single attestation and it is not clear that it is for all the signatures. This will mean the deed having to be amended to show separate attestation or for the attestation to state clearly that the single witness is attesting all signatures in the presence of the named signatories.

Deeds completed before 18 January

As we said earlier, this is not a change of practice. However we are aware that this may appear that way and we are conscious that it may look inconsistent with what we’ve been accepting previously. We are also conscious there may be some registration applications already in preparation that may be affected.

So for those reasons we will not raise a requisition on this point for deeds completed before Monday 18 January 2016. However, where completion takes place on or after this date a requisition will be raised where the attestation appears to be incorrect.