Guidance on using electronic signatures in commercial contracts

Computer in use

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 one of our specialist commercial contract solicitors:

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