- Leila Mstoian - Ann Vranken
- Lawyer's deed , legal instrument , countersignment , private deed , reinforcement , probative value
On 3 June 2013, the Law of 29 April 2013, introducing the lawyer's deed, has been published
in the Belgian Official Gazette.
The lawyer’s deed is a private instrument that secures an agreement that has been concluded between parties, and has been countersigned by a lawyer of each party with a different interest.
purpose of the lawyer’s deed is to provide more legal certainty and predictability in a relatively
flexible and simple way at executing an agreement between parties.
For the parties, this new instrument will result in the following benefits:
- In the first place, each committed party will be assisted and advised by the lawyers who are involved in the deed, and
- secondly, the agreement that has been signed by the concerned lawyers will provide the proof of the fact that the parties are truly bound by an agreement, and that the signatures of all parties involved in the deed are authentic, that the date of the document is correct and that the parties agreed with the content of the agreement. As a result, a special evidential value is granted to the deed, which implies it cannot be contested afterwards and unnecessary procedures can be avoided.
For the lawyer, the lawyer’s deed creates an additional role and
responsibility. According to the law, the lawyer declares, by countersigning the deed, that he
fully informed the parties that he assists about the legal consequences of the deed. Therefore,
this phrase must be mentioned in the deed. It also means that the lawyer is completely responsible
for the accuracy of the given information to the parties.
The deed must be drawn up in at least as much original copies, as there are parties and lawyers with different interests involved.
Each party that intends to contest the authentic character of such deed will have to bring its matter before the court through a procedure of falseness in civil matters.
After all, it is important to notice that the system of the co-signature is not mandatory, since the freedom to contract is one of the prominent principles of our contract law. Freedom to contract means that agreements can be entered under any form: orally, in writing, even by e-mail or in any other form.
For that reason, we wonder whether the lawyer’s deed will be frequently used as a legal instrument in our daily practice.