Alternatively, is there a way of legally trying to achieve the required objective?If the document is putting in place something which “should have been done” but hasn’t been, usually for tax or similar reasons, then the position is straightforward.For obvious reasons, any request to backdate a document for these reasons should be flatly turned down.However, an explanation often given by the person wanting to backdate the document is that the document is merely meant to reflect an oral agreement that has already been made and that this is just a way of documenting it.Is there an obligation on the lawyer to make at least reasonable endeavour’s to confirm that he is being told the truth?Unfortunately, there is no simple or straight forward answer to this and it comes down to how comfortable the lawyer will be defending his position in agreeing to backdate the document if his judgment was wrong and the authorities challenge the document, possibly in a criminal complaint against the client.
However, he only realizes this in January and so wishes to backdate the document to December.
Needless to say, even these methods of “backdating” a document should not be used when there was no earlier agreement and the document is just an attempt to give a false impression that something occurred on an earlier date than it did.
Because even putting “as of” a certain date will not protect the lawyer from implication in a criminal act if the purpose of the backdating is actually to defraud or mislead the taxman, any regulatory authority or even any other individual and the lawyer knew or should have known that this was the case.
Therefore, if in doubt it is best to say “no” or to take external legal advice if appropriate.
It is common for two parties, particularly in the commercial context, to enter into a contract at one time, but agree to have the contract come into effect at an earlier time. Courts respect the parties' decision to backdate since giving effect to backdating provisions respects the parties' intentions as well as their freedom of contract., 1968 (the date the contract was delivered to the insured).
The event did not happen during the time period required for the benefit so an attempt is being made to pretend that it did.