It’s actually four questions in one, but not all are legal questions.
- Is it legally binding?
- How do I prove the identity of the signing parties?
- What evidence can I show later?
- Are e-signatures widely accepted?
Listen to trade law professor Christina Ramberg explain below.
If I e-sign a contract, will the counterpart be required by law to honour it?
For 99.99% of all documents, the answer is a solid “yes.” Contract law world wide typically honours any agreement where the parties’ intentions to become bound are clearly stated. A handshake, phone recording, fax, paper signature, and e-signature are all valid.
This is about business risk as well as legality. The question is: “What degree of identification do you need from your counterpart to confidently execute this transaction?”
When selling a car, or a phone with a leasing contract, an ID check decreases fraud risk. When selling cloud services, the only risk is one missed payment. The choice is yours. Scrive will implement any technology you require for counterpart identification. We already have eID, two-factor authentication via PIN by SMS, and taking a photo of an ID.
Is the evidence material legally durable? Will it hold up in court?
A document signed on paper provides a fairly high quality of evidence. Electronic evidence is easy to fabricate, but a conscious decision to design for legal durability means that evidence materials such as email, SMS, and chat dialogues are rarely disputed in legal proceedings. That’s why Scrive is a world leader in evidence quality. Our evidence material makes the document 100% independent of Scrive or any other third party.
An e-sign service is only as good as the trust of the party who signs and the party who accepts the signed document.
Scrive has earned the trust of hundreds of companies, including some of the strongest global brands. Each month they rely on us to sign hundreds of thousands of documents, in 16 countries on 4 continents. Customer enthusiasm to e-sign is very high, and third parties that don’t yet support receiving electronic documents, for technical or company policy reasons, are becoming increasingly rare.