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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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IV. Applicable law 149


Chapter 8: The international contract in international legal instruments 149 requires objective links to a foreign country in order to be considered international. III. Formal validity The formal validity of contracts is expressly excluded from the scope of the convention (Article 5.2). Therefore, the law applicable to the form will be established according to the rules of private international law of the forum judge. However, those rule may determine that a contract is governed by the law applicable to the contract. In this case, if the convention is applicable, the law applicable is determined in accordance with the convention. IV. Applicable law The contracting parties may choose the law applicable to an international contract for the sale of movable goods (Article 2).463 The choice shall result from an express clause or from the provisions of the contract (Article 2). If the parties fail to choose the law governing the contract, the convention considers the domicile as the connecting factor to determine the applicable law. The rule is that the law applicable will be the one of the country where the seller has his or her domicile or place of business at the time of receiving the purchase order. However, there is an exception to this principle. If the seller receives the purchase order in the country where the buyer is domiciled or has his or her place of business, then the law of the buyer´s country is applicable (Article 3). In this manner, the convention contemplates the situation...

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