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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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H. Conclusions 178

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178 Part III: Electronic signatures and international contracts Certain transactions are excluded from the scope of application of the convention (Article 2) and the parties may exclude the convention as a whole or modify its provisions (Article 3). H. Conclusions The analysis of international conventions on topics of international contracts allows tackling the issue of the formal validity of contracts from an international perspective. The conventions recognize the formal validity of a contract if it complies with the formal requirements of at least the law governing the substance or of the law of the place of execution. That is the case of the Rome Convention, the Convention on the Law Applicable to Contracts for the International Sale of Goods and the Inter-American Convention on the Law Applicable to International Contracts. The Rome Convention even simplifies the rules for contracts with parties in different countries disregarding the place where they are executed. On the other hand, conventions and international instruments containing material norms adopt the principle of freedom of forms (CISG, Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts, and the UNIDROIT Principles). The goal is to seek to free contracts from formal requirements or to subject the formal validity of the contract to several laws so as to facilitate the execution of formally valid contracts. Moreover, the conventions dealing with applicable law recognize the freedom of the parties to choose the law applicable to the contract. Therefore, the parties can choose the law that will govern the formal...

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