Guidance on using electronic signatures in commercial contracts

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The Law Society has issued guidance to help those who wish to use an electronic signature to enter into a commercial contract.

Electronic signatures come in a number of forms, including:

  • Where a person types their name into a contract or an email containing the contract’s terms.
  • Where a person electronically pastes their signature into an electronic version of the contract.
  • Where a contract is accessed through a web-based e-signature platform and a person clicks to have their name inserted into the contract in a text or handwritten font.
  • Where a finger, light pen or stylus and touchscreen are used to sign the contract electronically.

The guidance sets out the principles used to determine whether a document signed with an electronic signature has been validly executed. It covers commercial contracts made in a business context but not contracts made with consumers.

 The topics it covers include:

  • The legislative framework.
  • Using electronic signatures in connection with documents governed by English law.
  • Combining different execution methods.
  • The conflict of legal issues that may arise.
  • The evidential weight of electronic signatures.
  • Dealing with originals and counterparts.

Expert legal advice on commercial contracts

For expert legal advice on any commercial contract matter please contact Gaby Hardwicke Partner Mark Williams at or Associate Solicitor Gemma Ritchie at . Alternatively, you can call them on 01323 435 900.

Posted: 01 August 2016

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