Learning the Basics of Common Seals

A common seal is as good as a signature. It is used to signify that a particular document is approved or become official under the public office or a private company’s common law jurisdiction. Basically, this seal is used for two purposes. The first one is to execute a deed under a company’s law. The second purpose is to share certificates from one foreign company to another. This is done when a certain country has to use a seal to process a business registration under the name of a foreign business. The use of this legal seal truly is significant. That is why most companies still use them instead of just affixing their signatures on.

These seals are also used by individuals who need to process legal documents. This is common in transferring a real estate property to a new owner, which is usually accompanied by a family on a certain degree, and involves complex actions to take effect. Other uses of these seals are for application of loan documents, purchase of significant products and others.

Knowing the Purpose

The general use of this seal is to facilitate legality to different documents. Generally, it provides good governance as legal matters can be well-organized. It also offers possibility of promoting and encouraging participation among concerned individuals with certain legal actions. As for public importance, it is used to regulate the council’s powers and all public officials as well.

There are several documents that should be affixed with a common seal. These are the power of attorney, share warrant, certificate of shares and instrument of proxy executed by the body corporate. The type of documents needed to be affixed with this seal is different from one country to another.

When, How and Why Seals are Used

Due to the increasing clients inquiring about the difference between affixing signatures and using seals, several publications have already been available for public information. However, the terms used are too technical that it became difficult to comprehend from a layman’s understanding. Here are basics on how this legal seal is used, and who are the people authorized to use the seal:

1. It is used by the governing bodies to end court cases under the common law. Now, it may be hard to understand what the common law is all about. Common law is the law that is created by the judges. Once a judge imprints the common seal to a particular case, it becomes official unless the decision is pursued to higher courts.

2. When it comes to ownership of real estate properties, these seals are also used. This is applicable to private companies and individuals who want to acquire a property or sell it to another company or individual. As mentioned above, the purchase or transfer of property usually is associated with complex processes, especially when a family member or a company representative is involved.

3. All common seals are kept under the custody of the board of secretary or by the management committee. No matter how it is kept, it is important that an authorized officer which is usually delegated by the board should be the one to keep the files. The officer will file a record of the seal’s purpose and report it to the board a few times a year.

4. The seal is official once it is affixed on a document. However, there are certain rules that will make it legal. First, the application of the seal must be seen by two officers. These two officers will serve as witnesses and so their signatures are affixed on the document as well. The two officers could be the chief executive, executive director or any other authorized officer. In some cases, the officers are from the director of a specific department who is involved in the whole transaction.

5. It is important that the documents are sealed by the executives as the non-executive officers may rule out the legality of the document. Having non-executive affix a signature may mean that the decision-making process was not done thoroughly and it can be reviewed by the board for possible revisions.

Common seals do have legal representations and that it why it is still being used by many countries. Even though some countries begin to abolish its use, nothing could ever outdo its role of ensuring legality among different documents as used by private and public sectors.

Posted on: May 28, 2014

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