Don’t Let Procedure Catch You Out
11th April, 2019
Céline Winham looks at a number of recent cases that have highlighted the importance of following a fair procedure when dealing with dismissals, especially in relation to the disciplinary and…
The purpose of this article is to provide greater clarity on the methods of signing an agreement electronically, so that (where appropriate and with further guidance) companies can use electronic signatures with confidence. Companies should establish their own protocols to ensure that signatures are correctly authorised.
The different methods for signing an agreement electronically are often confusing, particularly as English law imposes restrictions for various types of agreements. This can be a source of frustration (and risk) for parties as electronic signatures offer an attractive means of expediting the execution of documents.
Whether an agreement that has been electronically signed is valid or not will depend on the type of agreement and how it has been electronically signed. Please note that this article only sets out the different ways of signing an agreement electronically. There are many different factors that need to be taken into account when determining whether an agreement is binding on the relevant parties.
Regulation (EU) No. 910/2014 (the “Regulation”) sets out the validity of electronic signatures in the EU, including the UK. It established the principle that an electronic signature should not be invalid just because it is in an electronic form. The Regulation came into force on 1st July 2016 and is incorporated into English law. Since the Regulation merely prohibits the restriction of electronic signatures, it is up to each EU Member State to determine what agreement types can be signed electronically. As at the date of this article, English law does allow for the electronic execution of agreements, subject to compliance with certain legal requirements.
Below is a table of each type of agreement under English law and a brief example of the practical methods that can be used to help validly execute the agreement by electronic means.
Please contact Howard White, Associate in the corporate team for further information.
Eleanor Griffiths provides an introduction to the key concepts that any home improver, self-builder or developer should consider when starting a project.
Andrew Knorpel looks at serious cases of alleged misconduct and you what to consider if looking to suspend an employee