DNA ligase I (LIG1) catalyzes final ligation step following DNA polymerase (pol) β gap filling and an incorrect nucleotide insertion by polβ creates a nick repair intermediate with mismatched end at the downstream steps of base excision repair (BER) pathway. Yet, how LIG1 discriminates against the mutagenic 3'-mismatches at atomic resolution remains undefined. Here, we determined X-ray structures of LIG1/nick DNA complexes with G:T and A:C mismatches and uncovered the ligase strategies that favor or deter ligation of base substitution errors. Our structures revealed that LIG1 active site can accommodate G:T mismatch in a similar conformation with A:T base pairing, while it stays in the LIG1-adenylate intermediate during initial step of ligation reaction in the presence of A:C mismatch at 3'-strand. Moreover, we showed mutagenic ligation and aberrant nick sealing of the nick DNA substrates with 3'-preinserted dG:T and dA:C mismatches, respectively. Finally, we demonstrated that AP-Endonuclease 1 (APE1), as a compensatory proofreading enzyme, interacts and coordinates with LIG1 during mismatch removal and DNA ligation. Our overall findings and ligase/nick DNA structures provide the features of accurate versus mutagenic outcomes at the final BER steps where a multi-protein complex including polβ, LIG1, and APE1 can maintain accurate repair.