However, the actual date of signature should nevertheless be set out in the attestation clause at the end to avoid any claims that the document was intentionally misleading.
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.
There are some ways in which the lawyer can give himself some protection in agreeing to such a request but they are not foolproof.
This is a fraud on the tax authorities, a criminal offence and is likely to get the lawyer who prepared the document disciplined by his regulator and possibly also charged as a co-conspirator.
For obvious reasons, any request to backdate a document for these reasons should be flatly turned down.
For example, if one wishes to backdate a document for the purposes of recording an earlier oral agreement, it should nevertheless still be drafted in such a way so as to avoid giving the incorrect impression that it was actually signed on the date stated.
The best way to achieve this is to state openly in the document that it is recording an earlier oral agreement made on, and so is with effect from, a particular date and then date it the actual date it was signed.
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.