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Electronic Signatures in International Contracts


Carolina Monica Laborde

Electronic signature legislation seeks to facilitate e-commerce by providing an electronic equivalent to handwritten signatures in paper-based contracts. However, electronic signature legislation enacted in the past years in different jurisdictions has followed a dissimilar approach. In light thereof, this book analyzes the legal validity of electronic signatures in international contracts potentially subject to divergent electronic signature regulation. To this end, four major issues are addressed: the technological and legal concept of electronic signatures; the legal regulation of electronic signatures; the determination of the electronic signature legislation that will be applicable to an international contract; and, finally, the implications of applying one electronic signature law or another. The research covers the laws of Argentina, Germany and the United States of America as well as international conventions.


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B. Validity of electronic signatures 60


60 Part II: Electronic signature legislation (Section 9) and the time and place an electronic record is deemed sent and received (Section 15).162 B. Validity of electronic signatures UETA and E-Sign do not present divergences in the concept and recognition of electronic signatures. For this reason, these aspects are going to be dealt with simultaneously for both legal instruments. I. Recognition of electronic signatures Both statutes recognize the validity of electronic signatures and electronic records.163 The prevailing principle is the non-discrimination against the electronic form. This means that the legal value of writings or signatures cannot be exclusively based on whether they are on paper or on electronic form. The non-discrimination principle is materialized through different provisions. A signature, contract or record cannot be denied legal value solely because it is in electronic form (Section 101 (a)(1) E-Sign; Section 7(a) UETA). Therefore, norms which contain the terms writing and signature shall be construed to encompass documents and signatures in electronic form (Section 101(b)(1) E- Sign; Section 7(c) and 7(d) UETA). In other words, when the law requires a writing or a signature, that requirement may be complied with an electronic record and an electronic signature. Also, according to the acts, the use of electronic records or signatures in the formation of contracts cannot be the sole ground on which the legal effect, validity or enforceability of contracts is based (Section 101(a)(2) E-Sign; Section 7(b) UETA). The use of the electronic...

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