Are Witness Signatures Required on Sale Agreements and Contracts? | Legal Articles


Need Legal Advice?

No Matter What Your Bind We Can Help You



Legal Articles

Are Witness Signatures Required on Sale Agreements and Contracts?

Many may wonder whether it’s necessary to have a witness signature on a legal document such as sale agreements and contracts.

However, a witness signature serves as evidence to the fact that each party to the agreement did in fact sign the document in question.

witness signature on a legal document

Witness Signature on a Legal Document

There are typically two areas on sale agreements for a witness to sign. The witness signature is in addition to the person signing the agreement or their representative.

What’s more important is, how does one provide a witness signature on a legal document when the parties to the agreements have used electronic signatures.

When electronic signatures are used, it’s generally because the individuals are not in the same location.

In these cases, it becomes logistically problematic for an individual to provide a witness signature as they cannot be sure who actually signed the document.

Witness Signature on Contract South Africa

For legal purposes, a witness can be called upon to confirm that the relevant party has in fact signed the document, in the event that one of the parties tries to deny the fact that they signed the document.

In addition, a witness is also able to confirm that the actual signature was the one that the individual made. This helps to circumvent fraudulent signatures made by someone else who is not a party to the agreement.

The following is required when a witness has been present for the signing of legal documents:

  • It must be possible to find the witness at all times
  • The contracting parties must sign in the physical presence of the relevant witnesses

Therefore, in addition to their signature, the name and contact details of the witness must appear on the sale agreement.

However, there are certain financial institutions which insist on the contract of sale to display at least one witness before it considers an application for finance by the purchaser.

Furthermore, any amendment or change to the contract or offer to purchase must be initialed by the witnesses and contracting parties in order to avoid any future disputes related to such amendments.

A forensic handwriting expert is often called upon to prove the authenticity of the signature in the following cases:

  • When a party to the contract disputes his or her signature and the contract hasn’t been witnessed
  • The witness cannot be traced
  • It transpires that the party did not in fact sign the contract in the presence of the witness

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated - Attorneys in Cape Town

If you would like more information regarding the witness signature on a legal document or sales agreement, please don’t hesitate to contact our attorneys in Johannesburg and Cape Town.


Comments are closed for this post, but if you have spotted an error or have additional info that you think should be in this post, feel free to contact us.


Get the latest updates in your email box automatically.