and Countrywide Legacy is one step ahead.
An electronic signature should be considered just as legally binding as a handwritten one, even when it is just a typed name or a single click of a button, the Law Commission has said.
Individuals should be able to use digital devices to sign legal documents that once required manual signatures, including credit agreements, property sales and the granting of power of attorney, according to the government’s legal adviser.
The Law Commission said that some businesses still insisted on handwritten signatures on documents due to fears that legal challenges could be launched against documents signed via electronic means, adding that one large organisation asks for documents to be signed by hand before scanning them electronically and shredding the originals, describing this as an inefficient practice.
A consultation has been opened on whether new legislation is required to reinforce the validity of e-signatures, but the Commission said: “Our provisional view is that the combination of EU law, statute and case law means that, under the current law, an electronic signature is capable of meeting a statutory requirement for a signature if an authenticating intention can be demonstrated.”
A legal precedent has already been set in a number of recent Court of Appeal and High Court rulings that upheld the validity of electronic signatures, which can include typing your name on a keyboard, using a finger or pen to sign on a touch-sensitive screen or clicking “I agree” on a website.
The Commission also suggested that, where a signing requires witnesses, this could be done via webcam or video-link, which is not currently permissible by law.
“We provisionally propose that it should be possible for a witness to observe an electronic signature by video link and then attest the document by affixing their own electronic signature to it,” the Law Commission said, adding that people could also log in to virtually witness an electronic signature being made.
“Contract law in the UK is flexible, but some businesses are still unsure if electronic signatures would satisfy legal requirements,” the Commission said. “We can confirm that they do, potentially paving the way for much quicker transactions for businesses and consumers.
“And not only that, there’s scope, with our proposals for webcam witnesses, to do even more to make signing formal documents more convenient, speed up transactions and get business booming.”
This article was sourced from The Times and can be found here:
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The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills & Probate.