Electronic signatures not yet a substitute for the 'wet' signature in corporate transactions

By Cole Stacey

Signing a document is a simple method of confirming the agreement of contracting parties. It provides comfort and certainty as to the personal involvement of that person and means that signatures can be checked, for example, against bank mandates.

Finding an electronic equivalent is necessary to the continued growth and development of e-commerce. However, it is difficult to find a nationally accepted fraud-proof process. Therefore, we are some way off the widespread adoption of electronic signatures as the basis for closing corporate transactions.

The position is clear: electronic signatures can, in principle, satisfy the requirements for signing a document under hand (as demonstrated in Golden Ocean Group Ltd v Salgaocar Mining Industries Pvt Ltd [2012] 1 W.L.R. 3674) and systems have been developed — especially in relation to consumer contracts — that are being used effectively. However, the widespread adoption of electronic signatures in corporate transactions depends on whether the process used to ‘sign’ gives sufficient certainty that the individual or company has agreed to be bound by the contract in question…

If you are registered and logged in to the site, click on the link below to read the rest of the Shoosmiths briefing. If not, please register or sign in with your details below.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in


It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer


Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.


Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.


Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

Briefings from Shoosmiths

  • Litigants in person: is the tide turning?

    Following the recession, legal aid cut backs and poor economic conditions have led to an increasing number of LIPs being seen in the courts as people struggle to pay for legal representation. 

  • Proposed changes to make fundraising easier

    The Government has proposed draft legislation which will relax the rules surrounding the holding of small lotteries for fundraising purposes. 

View more briefings from Shoosmiths

Analysis from The Lawyer

  • Hester: declined bonus worth almost £1m

    Pay checks

    Compliance and corporate governance codes for large financial institutions will undoubtedly include provisions to regulate high pay in the future

  • high street 150

    Focus: Alternative business structures - Law and new order

    There’s more to the ABS model than attracting the man in the street and procuring external investment. Partners at the big corporate firms, take note…


2 Colmore Square
38 Colmore Circus Queensway
B4 6BJ

Turnover (£m): 92.98
No. of lawyers: 393


  • Training Contract

    Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Northampton, Milton Keynes, London, Reading, Basingstoke, Solent | £ 24,000