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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 10: The interaction of electronic signature legislation 203

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Chapter 10: The interaction of electronic signature legislation Once the law that will govern the formal validity of a contract has been determined it is known which electronic signature statute will establish the signature requirements, if any, because whether a signature is required and which type of signature is required depends on the formal requirements imposed by that national law. Different connecting points may lead to the designation of Argentine, German or US law as the legal system determining the formal validity of an international contract. For example, one of those jurisdictions may be the place where the contract was entered into, the place where one of the parties is or the country whose law governs the substance of the contract. However, in an international contract electronic signatures may have been created following the electronic signature legislation of a law other than the one determining the formal validity of the contract. The different legal approaches adopted by legal systems concerning the concept and validity of electronic signatures require that the parties be aware of the electronic signature requirements in other jurisdictions. Contracting parties shall verify whether the electronic signatures which will be used to sign the contract will be recognized as valid under the law governing the formal requirements of the contract. Thus, it has to be analyzed how the interaction of the Argentine Digital Signature Act with the German Electronic Signatures Act and the statutes in the United States of America, UETA683 and E- Sign, impacts on the formal...

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