Is it legal to use electronic signatures?
In short, yes, they are legal to use; however, they aren’t always accepted or in some instances, binding. Officially electronic signatures are valid and legally binding with Australia passing the Electronic Transactions Act in 2000. The general rule has been established that no transaction will be invalid simply because it was completed electronically.
Unfortunately, there is not a one size fits all approach to electronic signatures, with some legal documents having additional requirements such as being notarized or witnessed which can add complexities to the process – though these are not insurmountable. Some documents will also have a requirement that the signatures be handwritten; therefore, only a handwritten signature will make the agreement binding.
Consent – In the contract, unconditional permission to electronically sign is a pre-requisite. Parties to the contract should also agree that using electronic signatures for the agreement is acceptable before signing.
If you want to know more always seek legal advice and you can also read about it here in section 10 (signatures) of the Electronic Transactions Act
So, in summary, we see more and more agencies using electronic contracts and signatures. They are legal, but consent is required and please discuss this with your conveyancer or solicitor.
Call us at ela Property Advocates to discuss all of your options for selling or buying a property in today’s market. Guy Angwin: email@example.com, 0412 022 998 or Geoff Briscoe: firstname.lastname@example.org, 0419 740 351.