The Law Commission has recently issued a consultation on electronic signatures and their validity under UK law.
The signing of legal documents has changed from the traditional wet ink signature on a paper deed to the more modern use of e-signing on e-documents. In particular, the fast-paced world of real estate transactions has embraced this change in approach and speed in order to get deals done as quickly as possible.
So what is an e-signature? An electronic signature might be as simple as typing a name in an email or applying a pre-approved electronic signature to a document. It may involve logging into a platform to access a document, applying a computer generated signature or using a touch screen to add a virtual signature.
The Law Commission has now confirmed that electronic signatures are indeed capable of being legally binding and valid under current legislation. This is good news, largely because e-signatures have already become part of common practice. The government also wishes to consider what, if any, changes may need to be made to the law to adapt to IT infrastructure and keep abreast of the ever changing technological landscape.
Having given an initial view that electronic signatures are legally binding, the Law Commission wish to obtain wider views about whether or not:
This consultation is open until 23 November 2018 and views are requested in writing on all of the above issues.