Commercial Update 69: Don’t Forget E-Signing

Electronic signatures or e-signatures are a valid and legally binding way to obtain approval for electronic documents. Such signatures are secure and verifiable, with the benefit that they can replace handwritten signatures in almost any process, creating a more efficient way to speed up the process of acceptance in contract, as well as terms and conditions.

Due to the speed and effectiveness of e-signing, one of the big changes and features about getting contracts signed over lockdown was getting them signed electronically. By doing this, companies saved time and money in an economy battling with a WFH mandate, postal delays, and fear of COVID-19.

This practice was aided by in England by the Law Commission, which confirmed that deeds can be signed electronically, similarly, the Law Society published the following Q&A style guide in relation to the electronic signing of English law documents.

Following signing, a wide variety of open platforms also then provide an audit trail of who has signed each document. The process can and often is much more efficient and convenient than the traditional method of passing/posting hard copy documents around various signatories, particularly in transactions where documents often must be signed urgently or may not be agreed until just hours before a deadline.

A good e-signature process also makes it clear if a document has not been signed in all the required places and can be easily rectified, unlike the hassle of re-issuing a document that has not been fully signed.

Electronic signing of corporate contracts is far more popular – there is essentially no downside and only benefits to using this process in England. It will be interesting though to see how this method will survive as office life starts to resume.

Hopefully, with the wealth of advantages electronic signing brings, we hope that this method of signing is here to stay.

Regards to all,