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Should a lawyer be able to witness someone else sign an agreement through a Skype call?

Sometimes a person who wants to enter an agreement might be far away from his or her lawyer. They might live overseas. It can be inconvenient and expensive if a person must be present in front of a lawyer when signing an agreement.

Audio-video communication technologies are improving. It is common for people in different locations to meet via tools like Skype, Viber or Yammer.

Should lawyers be able to witness their clients sign agreements through these types of communication media?

The main concern is that the lawyer cannot be certain about exactly what is happening at the client’s end of the call. Is the document the client signs the right document? Is there someone else in the room but off-screen? If the quality of the call is poor, can the lawyer verify the identity of the person signing the agreement? Can the lawyer tell whether the client has heard and understood the advice?

What do you think about these potential problems? Are there ways we could address them?


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