What is a witness?

Definition of Witness

A witness is a person or legal entity that can confirm the authenticity of a document. A witness is often called upon to sign a statement or document but may also be asked to testify to the authenticity, if necessary.

Why is this term important?

Legal documents that need to be registered at a Titles office, such as documents related to the sale or lease of land, require a witness to sign as these documents have specific legal requirements.

As such, land transfer and lease documents are unlike most legal documents, which do not require a witness in order to be valid.

Examples of term

When signing an agreement of purchase or sale, your real estate agent may ask to be present in order to witness your signature. That's because your agent is now taking on the legal role of witness, a role that may be required in order to validate the document.