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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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Chapter 9: The international contract under domestic law 181

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Chapter 9: The international contract under domestic law The concept of international contract, its formal validity and the law applicable to it will be analyzed in three national legal systems: Argentina, Germany and the United States of America. A. Argentine law I. International contracts The domestic rules of private international law contained in the Argentine Civil Code do not define when a contract is international. However, from its provisions it follows that the Argentine Civil Code takes into account the place of execution and the place of performance of a contract to determine whether it is international or not. The disassociation between the place of execution and the place of performance is what renders a contract international.582 Consequently, if a contract is executed in one country and performed in another, it is considered international. In turn, if the places of execution and performance are in the same country, the contract is domestic. This reasoning can be inferred from Sections 1209 and 1210 of the Argentine Civil Code which determine the law applicable to a contract when its place of execution and its place of performance are not in the same country. The Argentine Civil Code excludes the nationality of the parties as an element for characterizing a contract as domestic or international (Section 1210). Argentine law also encompasses international treaties and conventions. Thus, the concept of international contract has broaden through the international treaties and conventions Argentina has ratified, such as CISG, which considers international a contract based on the...

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