Shepherd and Wedderburn welcomes introduction of contracts bill in Scotland

Shepherd and Wedderburn has welcomed the introduction to the Scottish Parliament of a bill that will allow businesses and individuals to create effective contracts and finalise agreements and other documents more speedily, having played a central role in its conception and its content.

According to the firm, the bill provides 21st century solutions to the signing and delivery of documents by permitting the execution of documents in counterpart (that is, in two or more duplicate, interchangeable parts) and the delivery of traditional documents by electronic means.

The Legal Writings (Counterparts and Delivery) (Scotland) Bill, introduced to the Parliament on 15 May 2014, is sponsored by the Scottish Law Commission and arises from the commission’s wide-ranging (and ongoing) review of Contract Law in Scotland. 

The suggestion that the commission should consider introducing a law allowing ‘execution in counterpart’ — a technique effectively unknown in Scotland, although widely used in England and Wales — came from Shepherd and Wedderburn’s Paul Hally, who brought this practice to the attention of the commission. 

Hally highlighted the difficulties that are often encountered in commercial transactions in Scotland, where the inability to complete transactions by way of simultaneous remote all-party signings can result in a protracted and time-consuming signing process, creating inconvenience and delay.