Signing legal documents – what do you need to know?
Have you been given a contract that you need to sign? Has someone else signed a contract and you’re not sure if they’ve done it correctly? Arts Law has recently published a new Information Sheet on Signing Legal Documents to help you answer these questions.
What’s the difference between a contract and a deed?
Contracts and deeds are both types of legally binding agreements. So what’s the difference?
The main difference is that contracts require “consideration” to be legally binding. This means an exchange of value of some kind. Often, the consideration will be money, but it doesn’t have to be.
On the other hand, a deed does not need consideration. Instead, there are specific rules for how a deed needs to be signed for it to be legally binding. For example, a person signing a deed usually needs a witness to sign with them. The document also needs to say “executed as a deed” above where it is signed.
Is it a company or an individual that needs to sign?
An individual can generally sign a contract by writing their signature, and printing their name and the date.
Companies can sign contracts in a few different ways. For example, they can sign by:
- Following the rules set out in their constitution for signing documents.
- Having two directors, a director and a secretary, or (where there is only one director who is also the secretary) the sole director sign.
- Placing the “common seal” of the company on the document, witnessed by two directors, a director and a secretary, or (where there is only one director who is also the secretary) the sole director.
You can find Arts Law’s full Information Sheet on signing legal documents here: https://www.artslaw.com.au/information-sheet/signing-legal-documents/
Do you need more help with making sure your legal documents are binding? You can submit a legal query with Arts Law here.