Back dating legal documents

Backdating Documents: Everything You Need to Know

back dating legal documents

Backdating documents occurs for several reasons, i.e. an action in a contract If you need help with backdating documents, you can post your legal need on. Backdating is the practice of marking a document, check, contract or other legally -binding agreement, with a date that is prior to what it should. I am sure that from time to time we have all come across the vexed question of backdating documents.

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When is Backdating OK? | LCN Legal

Backdating violin labels was not uncommon, and it was not illegal. However, backdating legal documents is another matter. Backdating legal documents is frequently permissible.

However, under other circumstances, it can be fraudulent or illegal.

back dating legal documents

This article discusses when legal documents might be backdated and how legally to do so when it is appropriate. Beginning with the Latin—Nunc Pro Tunc Despite common belief, backdating documents is not necessarily illegal.

In fact, it has been permitted for so long that there is a Latin phrase, nunc pro tunc, describing backdated documents. However, the doctrine can apply to other circumstances in which a law or document applies retroactively.

Why Backdate a Document?

back dating legal documents

Sometimes a document must be backdated to make it accurate. For instance, suppose that a vendor begins supplying its product under a proposed contract, only to later discover that the customer never signed the contract.

In this instance, inserting the date on which the parties began performing under the contract is more accurate than inserting the actual date of signature. Much to my surprise, a benevolent lender wired the funds to the client with no loan paperwork in place but with the expectation of receiving a promissory note later. It was created to document or memorialize a previous oral agreement to repay the funds.

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How Is Backdating Accomplished? Rather, it is a date on which the parties have agreed that their contract will be effective. Some contracts make this clearer than others. In a contract or resolution, the recitals [1] can tell the story, including the backdating.

Legal Help Live - Back-dating documents

Consider the following sample: It also explains why the contract is being backdated. Although it is not technical backdating, ratification is frequently used in the corporate context to provide nunc pro tunc approval of an action. When a corporate board ratifies a contract or other action previously approved by the officers or even by someone otherwise not authorized to take action, the effect is similar to backdating.

back dating legal documents

The corporation is agreeing to be bound by an action prior to the date of it actually being approved. When is it Illegal to Backdate a Document? Yet, backdating documents can be illegal or even criminal.

Additionally, backdating is impermissible when the backdated document describes an act that actually occurred, but at a date subsequent to the date of the document, in order to secure benefits to which a party is not entitled.

Drafting and executing a document after an event occurs, but in a manner that accurately reflects the date on which the event transpired, is a permissible form of backdating.

Is Backdating Ever Okay?

This is backdating that memorializes, something the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has recognized as a legitimate practice. For example, if parties clearly reach an agreement on Dec. This is simply the accurate memorialization of a past event, something that is essential to legal practice. Each of the above are examples of situations where attorneys may legally backdate documents. Staying in bounds Staying on the right side of the misrepresentation-memorialization line is critical.

Is Backdating Ever Okay? - Lexology

Attorneys who inappropriately backdate documents can face ethical sanctions, lawsuits and even criminal prosecution. Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to determine whether backdating misrepresents or memorializes.

There are several reasons for this difficulty, including that ambiguous law might govern the time of an event and relevant facts may be uncertain. Because they can create uncertainty regarding the date of an agreement, both present challenges for a lawyer considering backdating a document. As a matter of contract law, it is not always easy to determine when parties reached an agreement. An agreement is typically the product of various oral and written negotiations, which often take place over weeks or months.

That the parties reached an agreement is usually clear. However, the exact date of the agreement often is not, and the law may be ambiguous as to the moment when an agreement is reached.

Consequently, backdating the document formalizing the agreement to the date the parties struck the deal can be precarious. Ambiguity in the law can cause seemingly innocuous backdating to inadvertently become inappropriate fabrication. In addition to ambiguous law, a lawyer may also be faced with uncertain or unverifiable facts.

Insufficient or nonexistent records, human errors in recalling past events and injudicious reliance on the observations of others can all lead to backdating that misrepresents. A lawyer should be certain of the relevant facts before backdating a document.

If such confirmation is unavailable, the attorney must exercise sound discretion based on his or her knowledge and past experiences with the client. Prudent lawyers should refrain from backdating if they are uncertain about when the relevant acts took place. Disclosure Even backdating that memorializes can misrepresent, if it misleads a court, government agency or other third party.