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Execution of a document using an electronic signature

21 July 2016
This practice note has been developed to help parties (and their legal advisers) who wish to execute commercial contracts using an electronic signature or who wish to enter into a commercial contract with one or more other parties that intend to execute that contract using an electronic signature.

Legal status

This note was developed by a joint working party of the Law Society Company Law Committee and the City of London Law Society Company Law and Financial Law Committees and has been approved by leading counsel. The aim of this note is to make suggestions only and not to give advice. No duty of care or liability whatsoever is accepted by those involved in the preparation or approval of this note, or the firms or organisations that they represent, to any company or individual who relies on material in it.

This practice note is the Law Society's view of good practice in this area. It is not legal advice.

Practice notes are issued by the Law Society for the use and benefit of its members. They represent the Law Society's view of good practice in a particular area. They are not intended to be the only standard of good practice that solicitors can follow. You are not required to follow them, but doing so will make it easier to account to oversight bodies for your actions.

Practice notes are not legal advice, nor do they necessarily provide a defence to complaints of misconduct or of inadequate professional service. While care has been taken to ensure that they are accurate, up to date and useful, the Law Society will not accept any legal liability in relation to them.

For queries or comments on this practice note, contact the Law Society's Practice Advice Service.

Terminology

Must - A specific requirement in legislation or of a principle, rule, outcome or other mandatory provision in the SRA Handbook. You must comply, unless there are specific exemptions or defences provided for in relevant legislation or the SRA Handbook.

Should - Outside of a regulatory context, good practice for most situations in the Law Society's view. In the case of the SRA Handbook, an indicative behaviour or other non-mandatory provision (such as may be set out in notes or guidance).

These may not be the only means of complying with legislative or regulatory requirements and there may be situations where the suggested route is not the best possible route to meet the needs of your client. However, if you do not follow the suggested route, you should be able to justify to oversight bodies why the alternative approach you have taken is appropriate, either for your practice, or in the particular retainer.

May - A non-exhaustive list of options for meeting your obligations or running your practice. Which option you choose is determined by the profile of the individual practice, client or retainer. You may be required to justify why this was an appropriate option to oversight bodies.

SRA Code - SRA Code of Conduct 2011

SRA - Solicitors Regulation Authority

IB - Indicative behaviour

The Law Society also provides a full glossary of other terms used throughout this practice note.

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