In its September 2019 report on the Electronic Execution of Documents, the Law Commission has confirmed that an electronic signature can be used to validly execute documents, including where there is a statutory requirement for a signature.
The Law Commission concluded that current legislation is sufficient to ensure electronic signatures can be used with confidence and no further legislation is required. The report provides a summary of the law, aimed at increasing confidence in the use of electronic signatures, and confirms, among other things, that:
- electronic signatures are capable, in law, of being used to execute documents (including a deed) provided that: (i) the person signing the document intends to authenticate the document; and (ii) any formalities of executing a document are satisfied.
- the law does not prescribe any particular form or type of signature.
- when executing a deed, the physical presence of a witness is still required regardless of whether executed electronically or by hand.
The report recommends that an industry working group be established to consider issues associated with the electronic execution of documents.