Impact of backdating

Posted by / 17-Oct-2015 10:56

However, he rarely adds that he actually ended up losing that trial, which brings us to my second point – even though the law generally deprecates the backdating of documents, the legal consequences of backdating are highly variable.

This article will try to unpick the various legal threads of when you can and cannot backdate documents, and what the consequences will be if you do.

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When we say “backdating” what we usually mean is executing a document and then dating it with an earlier date than the actual date of execution, with the intention that it should be treated as giving rise to legal rights before the actual date.Legally speaking, this is something that you should not do – or more accurately, there will only ever rarely be occasions when this is appropriate to do.However in practice, for both good reasons and bad, backdating of documents does occur.However, at common law this was a criminal offence (going by the contradictory sounding name of uttering a false document) and in most English law based legal systems it is still an offence today, although in many cases statutory provisions have superseded the common law (for example, in the British Virgin Islands see section 242 of the Criminal Code 1997).Where backdating is done for financial gain, it may also constitute the more dull-sounding criminal offence of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception.

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Parties seeking to enforce rights can find those rights barred by ancient common law doctrines like (“from a dishonourable cause an action does not arise”).