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What is an independent witness?

16 June 2017

If we send you a document to sign and say that you need to have someone, who is independent, “witness” your signature, there’ll be space under the section for your signature for the witness to sign and insert their contact details.

Your witness must watch you sign the document; otherwise they have not done any witnessing. And they should be physically present with you. Not watching you by, for example, Skype.

The following are our best practice guidelines as to who is an independent witness.

An independent witness is someone who is not any of the following

  • a member of your family;
  • under 18;
  • named elsewhere in the document (other than as a witness to someone else’s signature);
  • named elsewhere in the other documents connected with your document (other than as a witness to someone else’s signature);
  • a party to or a beneficiary under or someone with any other financial interest in the document, or other connected documents;
  • a co-director (if you are signing as director of a company).

If you are not sure, do ask us.

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