Backdating contract legal
The risks of backdating (or misdating) documents accidentally is multiplied in modern commercial transactions by the practice of getting all the documents signed before “completion” and then rushing around dating them afterwards.My father (who was also a lawyer) used to love telling a story about how he was able to triumphantly prove to the court that a yacht charter was backdated by showing the stamps which had been used to pay the nominal 15¢ stamp duty were in fact first issued by the post office some four months after the date stated on the face of the document.However, he rarely adds that he actually ended up losing that trial, which brings us to my second point – even though the law generally deprecates the backdating of documents, the legal consequences of backdating are highly variable.This article will try to unpick the various legal threads of when you can and cannot backdate documents, and what the consequences will be if you do.
The first and most important thing to note about the consequences of backdating a document is that it is potentially a criminal offence.
When we say “backdating” what we usually mean is executing a document and then dating it with an earlier date than the actual date of execution, with the intention that it should be treated as giving rise to legal rights before the actual date.
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