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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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Chapter 7: General aspects of international contracts 134


134 Part III: Electronic signatures and international contracts These three questions as to the nature of an international contract, the formal validity and the law applicable to the contract are within the scope of private international law. Each legal system has and applies its own rules of private international law and, therefore, the answer may vary from one legal system to another.392 International conventions also address these issues with the goal to achieve unification in the field of private international law. Chapter 7: General aspects of international contracts This chapter introduces the concepts of international contract, law applicable and formal validity. A. The international contract I. Concept It is not difficult to recognize when a contract is international;393 however, to provide a definition of international contract is not that simple.394 International contracts have elements that link them to more than one country and, consequently, to more than one legal system. Therefore, what differentiates a domestic contract from an international one is that in an international contract at least one of its elements has contacts with a foreign country and with a foreign legal system.395 That is the case, for example, of a contract entered into in one country to be performed in another one. It may also be possible that all of the elements are related to different countries: a contract entered into in one country 392 Bachman, Internet und IPR, in: Lehman (Ed.), Internet- und Multimediarecht (Cyberlaw), 1997, p. 171; Huet, The law applicable to digital networks, in:...

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