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Background to electronic signature of documents

As well as using conventional “wet ink” signatures on paper documents, for speed and convenience business people increasingly use documents in electronic form and an electronic means to “sign” those documents.

The Law Society and the Law Commission have dispelled the uncertainty that existed until 2019 as to the legal validity of such electronic documents, and it is now clear that documents can be created and signed using electronic means. The Government might at some stage codify the relevant law so that the relevant law becomes more accessible.

The following paragraphs explain how to validly create, execute and use certain types of document electronically, but they cover only certain types of commercial contracts and other documents, not consumer or other documents. As to other types of document, you should seek legal advice.

For fuller details, please read the Guidance Note: Electronic Signature of Deeds and Contracts which you can reach by clicking here .

Please also see the Guidance Note: Formalities for Signing Deeds and Contracts on the various means by which deeds and contracts may be executed or signed in order to ensure that they are legally enforceable. You can find it here .

We recommend that you take professional legal advice if you are uncertain about any aspect of these topics.

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