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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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C. Conclusions 146

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146 Part III: Electronic signatures and international contracts difficult to apply in electronic contracts.455 The nationality has in general not been in itself a relevant factor for determining the applicable law.456 C. Conclusions Legal systems seek to ensure the formal validity of international contracts, in the first place, by allowing that the formal validity of a contract be subject to the lex causae. This means that the contracting parties may freely choose the law applicable to the contract knowing that that law can also determine the formal validity of the contract. Party autonomy means a radical change in the power of the parties over the contractual relationship. In the second place, several laws are recognized to govern the formal requirements of a contract so that the parties have different legal systems to choose from when it comes to executing a contract. 455 Calvo Caravaca / Carrascosa González, Conflictos de leyes y conflictos de jurisdicción en Internet, 2001, pp. 24-31. 456 Holleaux / Foyer / La Pradelle, Droit international privé, 1987, pp. 598-599; Batiffol / Lagarde, Droit International Privé, 1987, pp. 296-297.

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