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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Can you sign a letter or document from a group or body? Does

Resolved Question:

Can you sign a letter or document from a group or body? Does this have any legal contractual implications not specifying exactly who signed it.
This is a question on technicality - not for advice on best practices.
For example can you sign a letter On behalf of or from the Directors or Trustees? And not actually include your own name? Obviously you could physically, however as it contains no actual name it would be difficult to prove who actually sent it?
Lets suppose an agreement was from ABC Ltd to paint a wall for £1,000 and you get a letter saying Paint the wall and we pay £1,000 from the Directors of ABC Ltd
You paint the wall - and each director says it wasn't me that sent that! How can you prove?
Equally if your are contracted to paint the wall each month, and they send a letter from only the directors (group) to cancel the contract - could you argue 'technically' its not cancelled correctly?
So legally could it not be argued that the contents could not be proven?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

It needs to have a name otherwise if it is for a contract you could not say who it was signed by on behalf of the company or trustees

Alex Watts :

For example anyone can sign the name ABC Limited

Alex Watts :

When sending letters you can sign them as ABC Limited as this is done quite frequently

Alex Watts :

But contract it needs to have a name and say underneath, signed on behalf of ABC Limited

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

So for clarity (by the same token) you can not send a cancellation letter from a group and then rely on it later

Alex Watts :

That may be different, entering into a contract needs to be clear and have authority

Alex Watts :

Cancellation is not as onerous - therefore it can be signed by a group

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer:

If for example you were to use the letter as a contract between Two parties - this is a "nitty -gritty" question in so much that we have a very untrustworthy client that would hope to send correspondence signed from the board etc. deliberately to argue it has no effect as it says from no one specific - should they be held accountable from it.

Customer:

Yet - they will argue it counts as an instruction should they need to...

Customer:

can they have it both ways?

Alex Watts :

It depends what is in the contract. if it says it must be signed by a Director then so be it.

Alex Watts :

If not it can be signed by the group terminating as I assume they have authority

Alex Watts :

Does that clarify?

Customer:

ok forget contract persa' this is when you are arguing a letter is a contract.

Alex Watts :

A letter can be a contract

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else?

Customer:

E.G. I send you a letter cancel the contract ror your services and say I will give you £1000.(from the board of directors) - then dont..

Can I argue that my promise does not count as it was from the BOARD and no one specific?
or Can I argue it the other way and say We definitely told you here is the letter.
Can I choose whether a the letter counts or does not?

Customer:

Effectively the letter covers Two things
if it is not usable (because of the group principle) to be held to the £1,000
surely it can not count as a cancellation?

Alex Watts :

I dont know without know all the details.

Alex Watts :

But your question was can you use a letter to cancel a contract

Alex Watts :

Yes

Alex Watts :

It depends on what the contract says about cancellation

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer:

Sorry Alex - There is NO contract.

STAGE One - You receive a letter (this is now the contract in law) please paint that wall every month for £500 and you agree to a penalty clause of £100 if you dont.
YOU agree - contract (letter) in place.

Stage Two - Two months later - Please stop painting the wall - Yours The Board of directors.

Now as it is not signed specifically, it could be argued it doesn't really exist in law? - so if you dont paint the wall you are liable for the penalty of £100
as the letter will not be a defense? and the contract (which is the original letter) has not been terminated.

If you do paint the wall - you however cant claim the money as they could use the (from the directors - group) letter to say it was cancelled.
thereby having both sides of the coin??

which is not correct?

Alex Watts :

The contract can be ended. There is no doubt it is from the company.

Alex Watts :

It does not need to be signed specially unless the contract says so

Alex Watts :

There is no written contract therefore cancellation can be by letter

Alex Watts :

They can cancel by letter by group.

Alex Watts :

You can't stop it

Alex Watts :

Does that clarify?

Customer:

Brilliant - Thank you
So you are saying as long as its in no doubt it was from company X it counts.

Customer:

Many Thanks













Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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