Scanned signatures?

Discussion in 'Finance, Property, Law' started by vvaannmmaann, Jul 4, 2012.

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  1. I send a contract to a client.It requires his signature.He signs it and returns to me via email.Is this legally binding or should I insist on his original signature?
  2. Nitro PDF Reader
    PDF reader and creator. Create PDF files, collaborate and review, fill and save. QuickSign

    Used this for a UK based tenancy (legal) agreement while overseas. Pre-Scan your signature, and insert the scanned signature using the program. Bobby's your cross-dressing uncle. Any good?
  3. I've always believed (and encountered in business) that only an original signature has validity on a contract.

    (Although I've never understood why an easily-faked fax transmission is accepted by banks and other organisations....)

    Separately, though, I think that its accepted that emails constitute a legal correspondence - mainly because they can in theory be tracked back through the third-party paths they took.
  4. Certainly all the contracts I've signed in the last year or so have been done with Quick Sign. Mind you neither my clients nor I have needed to challenge them!

    I belive now that an email is seen as being as good as a letter in legal terms.
  5. I was a witness in a high court case where my signature had been scanned and used without my consent. It was deemed not to be binding.
  6. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

    Not all contracts have to be evidenced in writing, let alone signed.

    There are many aspects and requirements of contract law. One of them is "concensus ad idem".

    As long as there is a "meeting of minds" ie, you both correctly understand what the contract entails and your required performance and benefits from it, then the contract is as binding verbally as it is when written (legal exceptions aside).

    That said, most people prefer a written, signed, agreement to ensure that there is no doubt about what was agreed at inception in the event of a future disagreement.
  7. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

    That is not because it was scanned, but because it was a fraudulent or wrongful application of your signature to show agreement when none was given.
  8. Select committee on Trade and Industry minutes of evidence (1996 Legislative working party)

    2. The working party looked at the legal issues regarding the terms document, writing, signature, instrument, and records of transactions and originality. The Government's current proposed legislation focuses particularly upon the issue of signature. The working party considered the leading case in English law on signature methods, Goodman -v- J Eban Limited. That decision established that:

    2.1 mechanical signatures using rubber stamps, printing or typewriting were valid in english law;
    2.2 a signature can be by a mark rather than a name as long as evidence can be given to indentify the placer of the mark and the intention to sign; and
    2.3 words other than a name can amount to a signature if the necessary intention to sign can be proven

    Now although this working party was looking into the Electronics Commerce Bill it points to . .

    Goodman v J Eban Ltd (1954)

    A solicitor signed a solicitors bill with a rubber stamp which contained the name of the law firm. In the judgment it was determined that the rubber stamp was a valid signature, even theough the Solicitors Act of 1932 required a solicitors bill to be signed; it was established that it is enough to demonstrate that the rubber stamp was affixed by the solicitor with the intention to sign the solicitor's bill.

    So now taking the highlights above I go to:

    Interpretations act 1978

    Schedule 1

    1973 c.37.

    "Writing" includes typing, lithograpgy, photography or other modes of representing or reproducing words in a visible form and expressions referring to writing can be construed accordingly
  9. So a scanned signature is legally binding?
  10. E-mailed contracts are usually acceptable. I would sign and return the document by e-mail but ask that 2 hard copies be sent by post then sign and return one of the hard copies so both parties have a signed original. I would say though that the contract is binding on the basis of the e-mailed copy
  11. I for one, am no lawyer and therefore can't/won't say. But, I've hand-signed multiple hard copies of contracts and sent them back, by Fax. Then the original hard copies go back by registered mail and in to my records.
  12. OK thanks guys.
  13. A digital signature is acceptable, even if you enter into a contract on line for a loan etc and tick the acceptance box it is classed as a digital signature. With an email everything is encoded within its 'headers' which gives an exact copy of what was written, the IP address it originated from and its delivery route. Likewise when it is replied to even if they deleted parts of the original email everything remains unchanged in the headers.
  14. But digital signatures are a different thing surely? I googled my question prior to asking the arrse massive and got lots about three algorithms and other nerdy stuff.
  15. "Writing" includes typing, lithography, photography or other modes of representing or reproducing words in a visible form and expressions referring to writing can be construed accordingly