UK Law Firms Says Supermarket Workers Can Witness Your Legal Documents

In their post  COVID-19 – WITNESSING OF DOCUMENTS  UK solicitors Axiom Stone say… With the law on witnessing documents not permitting a video link to be a valid form, this creates a predicament when we need to sign documents. Here are some of their solutions.


Here’s the full blog post

27 March, 2020.

Sanjay Dhillon details solutions to legal challenges created by self-isolation.

As we are all aware, in the continued fight against COVID-19, the government has implemented stricter instructions in relation to our basic freedoms such as leaving the house. Nobody may go out except where it is essential.

With the law on witnessing documents not permitting a video link to be a valid form, this creates a predicament when we need to sign documents.

Although, under the current legislation, probate solicitors are exempted as “essential workers”, many of them are working from home and are, therefore, unable to witness important documents such as wills.

As the risk of COVID-19 continues to grow, interest in arranging affairs grows symbiotically. So, how can we meet this challenge?

What you can do

1. Two neighbours witnessing through windows

  • Ensure that both you and your two neighbours wash your hands thoroughly
  • Sign the will in the presence of two neighbours who watch through the window
  • Hand them the document through the window and watch them sign their names as witnesses
  • Ask them to hand the document back to you through the window and this will be amount to valid execution

1.2 Essential workers – such as in pharmacies and supermarkets – witnessing

  • When attending the local supermarket for your essential requirements – such as food – or when attending pharmacies for medication, request the workers there to witness your documents.

2. The usual standard witnessing requirements and advice would still apply. For example, in relation to a witness to a deed

  • This would have to be in the presence of the signatory (2m should still be sufficient as long as the witness can still see the act of signing)
  • The witness must know the signatory
  • The witness should be an independent adult, and it is advisable that the signatory takes photo ID with them (passport/DL).

3. It is not intended that this post should be taken as comprehensive legal advice and any individual should liaise with the lawyer dealing with their case for specific witnessing advice case – for example, in relation to wills or LPAs, or where remote witnessing is possible over video conferencing etc.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further queries. Axiom Stone Solicitors have a robust business continuity plan in place that is designed to minimise the impact on our service to our clients. We continue to  offer our signature flexible and friendly approach to meet your needs in these unprecedented circumstances.