Definition of backdating

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In practice the courts are more sympathetic than one might anticipate.

A commonly used example is where the parties had originally signed a document, but the original had been lost or destroyed before it could be stamped or filed.

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.

The first and most important thing to note about the consequences of backdating a document is that it is potentially a criminal offence.

Where backdating is done for financial gain, it may also constitute the more dull-sounding criminal offence of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception.

Although criminal prosecution might be a risk in serious fraud cases, in most day to day legal matters where backdating occurs for reasons of administrative convenience, or simply by oversight or error, the risk of being charged with a crime are commensurately small.

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