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What is an Allonge?

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An allonge is something that may sound quite exotic, but it is actually quite a simple document. It is generally just a slip of paper where people can add their signature. The reason for having an allonge is that it makes it possible for the reader to confirm that they agree with the contents of a main document. In a lot of cases this slip of paper will be added to something like a contract or other agreement.  Even though this slip of paper is a separate physical document it is considered the same as the main document for legal purposes. The name of this piece of paper comes from the French word ‘allonger’ which means to draw out.

How to Allonge Works in Practice

This document works as a bill of exchange. It may contain a summary of the important points from the main document or it may not. It is understood that the person who signs will have read the attached paperwork. By signing this document those involved are agreeing that they understand what is involved in the contract and agree with the terms. Once this document is signed it signifies that all concerned are ready to go ahead with whatever has been proposed.

The use of an allonge is most popular in those countries that follow the Napoleonic code. This French civil law was created by Napoleon back in 1804 and remains influential right up to today. In some parts of Canada they still follow the Napoleonic code. The use of the allonge is found elsewhere but it is not as popular as those countries that were influenced by France.

In a lot of countries the normal practice is to add a signature on the actual document that is being considered. The one main exception to this is international agreements where an allonge may be more acceptable. Those people who wish to do business with countries that remain influenced by the Napoleonic code may still be expected to use this document. Using this slip of paper is not a legal requirement in many countries but adding it is not going to invalidate the agreement either.

Some Final Thoughts on the Allonge

The use of the allonge may seem a bit unnecessary to people who are not used to it, but adding this slip of paper should be no great hardship. It will make doing business in countries where such documentation is the norm move a lot more smoothly. The fact that this extra bit of paper summarizes the main points of the agreement can be a useful way of ensuring understanding of what is being signed. Of course it is important to remember that by signing the parties are accepting that they agree to the terms of the main document. There is no obligation for all these terms to be stated on the allonge and in most instances they won’t be. This is why it will still be necessary to read the main document fully.

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Meet the Author

Anthony Carter currently resides in Fife, Scotland with his wife Lisa, and their three wonderful children. As a senior editor for various publications, if he's not reading and writing, you would find him photographing and traveling to some of the most far-flung locations around the world.

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