There is still plenty of confusion around the use of technology for signing documents and witnessing signatures.
The Law Society of NSW has recently put out a memo on the topic of witnessing signatures to provide some guidance on this. Some comments are:
- You cannot witness the signing of document over Skype or FaceTime; and
- You cannot witness the signing of a document using online or cloud-based document signing services.
Rather than ask what is valid on a technology basis, it is best to ask yourself three key questions before deciding whether you a valid witness or not:
- Are you physically present?
- Can you be sure that the document you are witnessing is the same document and not a copy?
- Are you signing at the same time as the witness?
There is a real danger for lawyers incorrectly claiming to witness a signature when they have not met the three minimum requirements in bold above because it could be considered dishonest or misleading conduct.