Solicitors will be able to make greater and more confident use of technology in their day-to-day work following the release of a new practice note on the use of e-signatures for commercial contracts.
Released today by the Law Society of England and Wales, the note clearly sets out the relevant law around the use of e-signatures on commercial contracts, and addresses issues around their use.
'Commercial contracts drafted by solicitors operate in every aspect of our economy and can govern deals worth millions, or even billions, of pounds,' said Law Society president Robert Bourns.
'There is no room for error when so much is at stake, therefore it is vital that solicitors can have confidence in the legal framework surrounding such innovations.
'This practice note will provide them with greater certainty when using electronic signatures on commercial contracts.'
The practice note has been developed by a joint working party from the Law Society, the City of London Law Society and leading City law firms, and reviewed and approved by leading counsel Mark Hapgood QC.
'Solicitors are eager to take up any opportunity to innovate, and this practice note will help guide them in making ever-increasing use of this small but significant improvement,' said Bourns.
Law Society Company Law Committee chairperson Elizabeth Wall commented:
'Although e-signatures have been in use for some time, there has been no consensus among the legal industry on their validity. This practice note will help the industry get comfortable with electronic signatures and embrace the practical benefits of e-signing.'