The seriousness of undertakings
- November 19, 2015
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An undertaking is a very serious promise offered as security for the performance of a particular act
required in a legal action. Most undertakings will require some action from a third party and for this
reason should be given careful consideration before agreeing to give an undertaking. So think before
you give an undertaking. Apart from the standard form undertaking for example in a conveyancing
transaction to pay off the mortgage, there are few cases where you should undertake.
Why is that?
Because it can have serious consequences on the person giving the undertaking.
What are those consequences?
The SRA code of conduct states, a person giving an undertaking will be held personally liable if they
are unable to carry out the activity they are undertaking to do. so ensure before you undertake, that
you have full control of the ability to discharge your undertaking. Ensure it is clear, specific and ‘do-
able’ (ie, make sure you can dishcharge your undertaking or you will be in trouble).
Whats an example of an undertaking which may be difficult to adhere to?
Say for example you undertake that on completion you are going to hand over original documents to
the other side solicitors. But you never received those original guarantees and certificates from your
client in the first place. For this reason on completion you will be unable to follow through with your
Most firms will have professional indemnity insurance in place for their protection, how every the
consequences of not being able to carry out an activity you are undertaking to do could lead you to be