Backdating options legal

I am sure that from time to time we have all come across the vexed question of backdating documents.A client or, in the case of an in house lawyer colleague (who for the purposes of this article will also be considered a client), asks you to prepare a document and then your heart sinks as he says “oh and it has to be dated” and gives a date which has already passed.

What confirmation of the earlier agreement did the client or the company for which the client (and lawyer) works provide?

However, the actual date of signature should nevertheless be set out in the attestation clause at the end to avoid any claims that the document was intentionally misleading.

Needless to say, even these methods of “backdating” a document should not be used when there was no earlier agreement and the document is just an attempt to give a false impression that something occurred on an earlier date than it did.

For example, if one wishes to backdate a document for the purposes of recording an earlier oral agreement, it should nevertheless still be drafted in such a way so as to avoid giving the incorrect impression that it was actually signed on the date stated.

The best way to achieve this is to state openly in the document that it is recording an earlier oral agreement made on, and so is with effect from, a particular date and then date it the actual date it was signed.

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