Everything you need to know about electronic witnessing of agreements

All of your eWitness questions answered

There are many steps to digitising contracts and agreements. From the initial preparation to the post-signing management of an agreement, technology has gradually been developed to save time and money. Now, technology has overcome one of the trickiest of areas: witnessing a signature.

Electronic witnessing is a digital step that has long been demanded by both the legal profession and their clients in order to avoid delays and costs from printing off paper copies and sending them through the post. 

DocuSign eWitness allows you to sign and witness an agreement or deed in a simple way and avoid the costs, errors, and time associated with manual witnessing.

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Here we give you an overview of what DocuSign eWitness is and answer your questions around it.

Q: What is DocuSign eWitness? 

DocuSign eWitness is a feature of DocuSign eSignature, that allows organisations in the UK to enable signers to identify up to two witnesses to sign an agreement or deed in a simple and electronic manner.  

DocuSign eWitness captures the witness transaction details in the Certificate of Completion to provide a record of who signed and who witnessed the signature process. 

Q: What customer problem does DocuSign eWitness solve? 

Historically, a “wet-ink” signature was the only option for witnessing a signature in the UK. Manually capturing witness information is often slow, time-consuming and costly. 

Q: What are the benefits of DocuSign eWitness? 

  • Get going quickly

Flexible, easily configurable and easy to use for all parties, including senders, signers and witnesses. 

  • Accelerate agreement completion

Digitise manual and paper-based processes to speed up the contracting process.

  • Reduced Risk

When signing documents where electronic witnessing is desired, DocuSign eSignature Platform provides the flexibility to choose between witnessed electronic signatures or digital signatures, including Advanced and Qualified signatures (AES and QES) that require identity verification and authentication before a digital certificate is issued.

  • Capture court-admissible evidence

Get a Certificate of Completion that provides proof of signing and witnessing by capturing key transaction information such as IP address and time stamps.  This information can often help provide evidence for  the transaction in the event of a legal dispute.

  • Save time and money

Avoid the costs, errors, and time associated with manual witnessing.

Q: Can you add multiple witnesses?

Yes, a DocuSign envelope can include both witnesses and regular recipients, and customers can set the signing order to create a workflow for their Envelopes. Currently there is a cap of two witnesses per signer.

Q: Can DocuSign eWitness be used to “witness” a signature from a different location to the signatory?

The Law Commission’s September 2019 report on the electronic execution of documents (2019 Law Commission Report) concluded that deeds could be signed and witnessed using an electronic signature platform. The view of the Law Commission (and of the Law Society in a June 2020 update ) is that where there is a legal requirement for a signature on a document to be witnessed, the witness must be in the physical presence of the signatory and directly observe the signatory signing.

It is up to the sender to ensure that the signer and witness are co-located.

DocuSign captures details such as IP address and geo-localisation (based on consent from the signer and witness) to indicate that both the signer and the witness are in the same location and complete at the same time.

Q: What are some key use cases for using DocuSign eWitness?

DocuSign eWitness can be used in a multitude of scenarios and use cases ranging from Real Estate, to Financial Services and Legal Firms. However it is up to each organisation and/or the individual to ensure that DocuSign eWitness meets their specific requirements and/or regulations.

Q: How do I add this feature to my account?

Some advanced features and options are supported only in certain DocuSign eSignature plans. The eWitness feature is considered an Advanced Solution. Please contact your Account Manager or contact sales.

To learn more about eWitness, watch our on-demand webinar: How to enable electronic witnessing for your agreements.

 

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