Early in 2003, IP Draughts and his colleague, Victor Warner, were chatting with the publishing manager of the Law Society of England and Wales. We were in the final stages of completing our first book with them, Drafting Confidentiality Agreements, which is now in its third edition.*
The conversation turned to an old-fashioned book that the Law Society then published, on the subject of oaths and affidavits. This could be done so much better, commented IP Draughts, and he explained how he thought it should be done, and how the subject should be broadened to cover other types of documents that a solicitor is called upon to draft and execute.
IP Draughts is more guarded nowadays, in his conversations with publishing managers.
Twelve-and-a-half years later, the third edition of Execution of Documents has just been published. The book now runs to more than 400 pages. It includes material that is relevant to IP Draughts’ legal practice, including how to execute contracts as deeds, how to execute powers of attorney, and the law on electronic signatures. Other parts are more relevant to litigators, including chapters on statements of truth, statutory declarations and affidavits. As a solicitor and notary, Victor was well-qualified to write the chapter on notarisation.
The broad, ‘general practice’ coverage of the book is perhaps what led the two leading UK journals for general-practice solicitors to review it. Reviewing an earlier edition, Solicitors Journal commented:
It is written in clear, plain language and in ample detail for its intended audience. This is a useful and practical reference book for practitioners containing many precedents, both traditional and modern. It is a first class ‘dipper’.
New Law Journal, the chief rival to Solicitors Journal, preferred the following comments:
This is, for a highly technical law book, a riveting read. Keep it on your shelves and you’ll be confident that you will have the answer to most issues about how to make a legal document work.
A book of this kind will never generate enough royalties to cover the costs of writing it. The market is far too small. But we get satisfaction from doing a job well, providing useful practice notes for ourselves and other solicitors, and seeing complimentary reviews.
*The first and second editions were written jointly by IP Draughts and his colleague Simon Keevey-Kothari, who now works at Carpmaels and Ransford.