June 17, 2019

Counterpart signing a deed or agreement

Updated: 24 January 2022

There once was a time when a deed or agreement  needed all signing parties to be together to sign it. Or the one agreement had to circulate to each party for signing individually. 

Now an agreement or deed can contain a counterpart clause.

What is a counterpart clause? 

A counterpart clause in a deed or agreement allows all parties who need to sign it to sign separate copies [instead of everyone signing the same one]. This means that even though the signatures of all relevant parties are not on the same document, the sum of all the separate copies and signatures makes the deed or agreement binding.

Sample counterparts clause

This Deed may be executed in any number of counterparts. All counterparts, taken together, constitute one deed. A party may execute this Deed by signing any counterpart

Why use a counterpart clause? 

Use a counterpart clause when then there are many parties to the deed or agreement for the sake of efficiency and simplicity. But do not assume this is valid for all deeds and agreements. 

The document must have a counterpart clause in it before you can sign it in this way. Some deeds and agreements can specifically disallow counterpart signing. 

A requirement of a deed is that you cannot sign it electronically. So remember that when signing a deed that allows for counterparts you will need to sign a paper copy. This is especially important for documents which need the signature of a witness.

For more information about signing deeds, read How to sign your deed correctly. And for more information about signing agreements, read Useful tips to help you sign your legal agreements correctly.

Do you have any questions or comments about signing your documents? Ask below in the comments section or contact me personally. I wish you every success.

About the author 

Vivian Michael

As founder and lawyer at Michael Law Group, Vivian advises Australia's top entrepreneurs on business and employment matters. Clients benefit from Vivian's commercially focussed and pragmatic legal advice, business experience, and commitment to deliver the best quality business legal services to her clients.

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