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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 8: The international contract in international legal instruments 147


Chapter 8: The international contract in international legal instruments The determination of the international character of a contract, of the law applicable to it and of its formal requirements is made by each national law. The private international law of a given legal system includes also the rules set forth in the international conventions a country has ratified. This part will cover international conventions and international instruments dealing with contracts. For completeness purposes, conventions which have not entered into force as well as conventions not ratified by the jurisdictions analyzed in this work – Argentina, Germany and the United States of America ‒ will also be covered. The issue of the law establishing the formal requirements will be addressed together with other two topics to which it is directly linked. First, the international nature of the contract. A contract connected only with one country does not raise questions as to which law is to govern its formal requirements. Therefore, it will be analyzed when a convention dealing with contractual matters considers a contract to be international. Most of the international norms to be covered, notwithstanding the fact that they deal with issues of international contracts, do not define this concept. Nevertheless, conventions normally determine their sphere of application; that is, they describe the situations that fall within their domain. In doing so, the conventions establish the boundaries within which they will be applicable. However, the concept of international contract does not equal the sphere of application.457 The concept of international contract is...

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