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Electronic Signatures in International Contracts

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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. Other organizations 129

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Chapter 6: The work of national and international institutions 129 electronic form as long as it is not inconsistent with the law of the country where the bill of lading is issued (Article 14.3). Therefore, the convention does not govern the issue of electronic signatures; instead, the convention refers to the national law of the place where the bill of lading is issued to determine whether electronic means could be validly used to sign. 3. United Nations Convention on International Bills of Exchange and International Promissory Notes The United Nations Convention on International Bills of Exchange and International Promissory Notes was adopted in 1988 but has still not entered into force. However, it is worth mentioning that in the definition of signature not only handwritten signatures are included but also an “equivalent authentication effected by any other means” (Article 5(k)). 4. United Nations Convention on the Assignment of Receivables in International Trade The Convention on the Assignment of Receivables in International Trade (2001) was approved on the same date as the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Signatures; therefore, the language of the convention follows that of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Signatures. According to Article 5(c) the writing requirement is fulfilled by any form of information that is accessible and usable for subsequent reference. In turn, the requirement of a signature is met by using a procedure that serves to identify the signatory and to indicate the signatory´s approval to the content of the writing (Article...

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