A party signing an agreement is prima facie bound by it, though it is not signed by the other party (l); but if only one is bound, he may, it seems, require the other to signify in writing his assent to or dissent from the contract; and unless this is acceded to, he may himself rescind it (m). Evidence is admissible to show that an agent intended to sign in his own right as well as on behalf of his principal, provided that it does not actually contradict the document (n).

Signature by party charged sufficient.

Other party must elect.

A signature printed, or stamped (o), instead of written, or by initials (p) or mark (q), may be binding; but a letter written by the purchaser on the vendor's paper, stamped with the vendor's name, will not bind the vendor unless, perhaps, it is written at the vendor's dictation (r); and a mere description, though it satisfactorily identify the party, e.g., "your affectionate mother," subscribed to a letter addressed to the son, with his name and address in full, is insufficient as a signature (s). The statute did not apply to a deed (t) until 1926.

What signature sufficient within

Statute of


(l) Seton v. Slade, (1802) 7 Ves. 265; 2 Wh. & T. L. C. 9th ed. 425; Field v. Boland, (1837) 1 D. & Wal. 37; Sug. 14th ed. 129; Lay-thoarp v. Bryant, (1836) 2 Bing. N. C. 735; 5 L. J. N. S. C. P. 217; Fowle v. Freeman, (1803) 9 Ves. 354; Western v. Russell, (1814) 3 V. & B. 187, 192; Owen v. Thomas, (1834) 3 M. & K. 353; 3 L. J. N. S. Ch. 205.

(m) Martin v. Mitchell, (1820) 2 J. & W. p. 428; see Lord Ormond v. Anderson, (1813) 2 B. & B. 371; and Williams v. W., (1853) 17 Beav. 213, 216.

(n) Young v. Schuler, (1883) 11 Q. B. D. 651; 49 L. T. 546.

(o) Saunderson v. Jackson, (1800) 2 B. & P. 238; 3 Esp. 180; Schneider v. Norris, (1813) 2 M. & S. 286; Bennett v. Brumfitt, (1867) L. R. 3 C. P. 28; 37 L. J. C. P. 25; Reg. v. Cowper, (1890) 24 Q. B. D. 60; ib. 533; 59 L. J. Q. B. 265; Jones v. Joyner, (1900) 82 L. T. 768; Tourret v. Cripps, (1879) 48 L. J. Ch. 567; 27 W. R. 706; Smith v. Brentnell, (1888) W. N. 69.

(p) Phillimore v. Barry, (1808) 1 Camp. 513; Sweet v. Lee, (1842) 3 Man. & G. 452; 5 Jur. 1134; and see Blore v. Sutton, (1816) 3 Mer. 245; Chichester v. Cobb, (1866) 14 L. T. N. S. 433.

(q) Baker v. Dening, (1838) 7 L. J. N. S. Q. B. 137; 2 Jur. 775; and see Hyde v. Johnson, (1836) 5 L. J. N. S. C. P. 29; 3 Sc. 289.

(r) Hucklesby v. Hook, (1900) W. N. 45; 82 L. T. 117; and see Brooks v. Billingham, (1912) 56 Sol. Jo. 503.

Where at an auction two successive lots were knocked down to the same purchaser, and the auctioneer signed the purchaser's name opposite the first lot, and wrote "do." opposite the second, this was held a sufficient signature (u). The signature by a principal (x) or his agent (y) to the instructions for a telegram may be a sufficient signature within the statute.

Signature to instructions for telegram.

And a signature in the name of an agent will bind the principal if the agency is established (z); but the evidence of the alleged agent, if it goes to impeach the validity of his authority, will be received with jealousy (a).

Signature by agent.

The signature to formal agreements is, except in the case of the Crown, usually found at the end of the document; but the statute requires only a signing and not a subscribing; and the signature may, as in the case of a letter or agreement in the third person, be inserted in the beginning or any other part of the instrument, if inserted so as, in effect, to authenticate the entire document, and not to be exclusively applicable to particular portions (b). In other words, it is sufficient if the signature is so placed as to show that it was intended to relate to the whole instrumerit (c); and this according to some authorities, is the case, it seems, although (in the case of an agreement in the third person) a place is left for signature at the bottom, in the usual way (d). Where, however, the agreement contained the names of the parties in the commencement, and concluded with the words, "as witness our hands," without being followed by any name or signature, it was held that there was not a sufficient signature (e). So, where A., intending to marry B., wrote a paper commencing, "In the event of a marriage between the undermentioned parties, the following conditions, as a basis for a marriage settlement, are mutually agreed upon;" and then followed the terms of a proposed settlement, but the name of neither party was signed to the memorandum, it was held that A.'s name. occurring in particular portions of the instrument, could not. by force of the words "undermentioned parties " be fastened on to the introductory words, so as to constitute a sufficient signature (f). The purchaser's signature on the back of the printed particulars (g), or in a column left blank in them for that purpose, may be sufficient (h).

Signature not necessarily placed at end of agreement.

(s) Selby v. S., (1816) 3 Mer. 2; and see Skelton v. Cole, (1858) 1 D. & J. 587.

(t) Cherry v. Heming, (1849) 4 Ex. 631, 636. But now L. P. Act, 1925, s. 73.

(u) Reynolds v. Hooper, (1902) 19 T. L. R. 33.

(x) Godwin v. Francis, (1870) L. R. 5 C. P. 295; 39 L. J. C. P. 121; and see Harvey v. Facey, 1893, A. C. 552; 62 L. J. P. C, 127.

(y) Mcblaine v. Cross, (1871) 25 L. T. 804.

(z) See Rosenbaum v. Belson, 1900, 2 Ch. 267; 69 L. J. Ch. 569; Daniels v. Trefusis, 1914, 1 Ch. 788; Keen v. Mear, 1920, 2 Ch. 574.

(a) Howard v. Braithwaite, (1812) 1 V. & B. 202, 209.

(b) Saunderson v. Jackson, (1800) 2 B. & P. 238; 3 Esp. 180; Morison v. Turnour, (1811) 18 Ves. 175; Western v. Russell, (1814) 3 V. & B. 187; Ogilvie v. Foljambe, (1816) 3 Mer. 53; Propert v. Parker, (1830) 1 R. & M. 625; Bleakley v. Smith, (1840) 11 Si. 150; Lobb v. Stanley, (1844) 5 Q. B. 574; 13 L. J. Q. B. 117; Stokes v. Moore, (1786) 1 Cox, 219; Sug. 14th ed. 135; Evans v. Hoare, 1892, 1 Q. B. 593; 61 L. J. Q. B. 470.