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How to avoid problems with electronic signatures.

It is now more apparent that documents such as contracts and invoices are signed electronically – an alternative to paper documents. This depends on the policies and due diligence practice of your company or industry and whether the documents require witnesses. It is increasingly important to be mindful of issues and intentions of both parties to avoid problems with electronic signatures. It is also important to certify trust in business transactions.

Are electronically signed contracts legally binding?

The Electronic Communications Act [2000] and the Electronic Signatures Regulation [2002] provide a framework for how electronic signatures are legally binding in the UK.

Most countries worldwide now accept electronic signatures as an alternative to paper formats. These agreements are legally binding as long as all procedures are correct and legal, and users are authentic. The person signing electronically must communicate the intention to create legal relations. By sending the electronically signed document usually verifies this intention.

Signature document templates and software that provide electronic signatures are available for use in most countries. Word is one such document. A document can be signed in a word or PDF document and is sent by an authorised an authentic email. The email and sender are usually authorised by sending personal identification documents such as passports, driving licences of the sender. A snapshot of the live communication is further proof of identifying the authenticity of the person is sending the email.

Check the validity of electronic signatures
  • There is an agreement between both parties.
  • The agreement contains the names of all parties.
  • Electronic signatures are in the agreement document.
  • Photos pasted onto the document verify the signature.
  • Witnesses must be present when required.
  • Email or secure electronic medium is used to send the document.
  • A company seal may replace or validate electronic signatures
  • The email and owner are authentic.
  • Company policies state that electronic signatures are valid.
  • The electronic medium which the email signature is send is secure.


In order to avoid problems with electronic signatures, authenticity, security and agreement between all parties is a must. It is also important to follow the government guidance when incorporating electronic signatures into business practice.

There are a number of companies that provide electronic signatures service. Regulation 4 states that these companies must provide trust certificates as service providers for electronic signatures.  Importantly, use due diligence to find the best service for you.


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