Contract Law: Contracts void for illegality
There’s nothing inherently illegal or unethical about backdating contracts, although backdating can certainly be both unethical and illegal, depending on the situation. For those with an hour to kill thinking about the issues, Jeffrey Kwall and Stuart Duhl wrote an excellent article on backdating that was published in Business Lawyer in For a shorter piece with a few practical tips see Backdating – it’s illegal isn’t it? The law does not support the blanket conclusion that a retroactive effective date in a contract is only enforceable when the evidence demonstrates that the parties had agreed to the material terms of their contract as of the retroactive date.
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In terms of private contracts, backdating isn't normally illegal. Where issues of legality come into play is when the parties involved in a contract, or their legal. Usually the term “backdate” is used to describe an attempt to commit a fraud through dishonestly making it appear that the agreement was. There's nothing inherently illegal or unethical about backdating contracts, although backdating can certainly be both unethical and illegal. If you're a lawyer, at some point you'll encounter a client asking to backdate documents. Is backdating contracts or other documents legal? Find out here.
Are you doing any harm by backdating the deed you are signing? While this may seem harmless, in extreme circumstances in NSW, it could land you in gaol for up to 10 years, because, contrary to some popular belief, backdating is not only not recommended, it is fraudulent and illegal.