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Can I exchange contracts by fax or email?

I am a trainee solicitor working in a residential conveyancing department. Is it possible to exchange contracts by fax or email?

An exchange of faxes or email is not a valid exchange of contracts under section 2 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989.

The main use of fax or email is to transmit the messages which activate the Law Society’s formulae.

In this context, sending a fax or email is merely a substitute for using the telephone.

Standard Condition 1.3.3 does not permit fax or email to be used as a valid method of service of a document where delivery of the original document is essential (as it is with the contract).

For further information, see our Conveyancing Handbook (25th edition) which is available from our online bookshop or contact the Practice Advice Service.

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

Have you got a practice question? Call the Practice Advice Service on 020 7320 5675 or email

The Practice Advice Service is staffed Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

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