From Manuscript to Electronic Signature: Background, Technology and Case Laws
A common dictionary definition of a signature is ‘the name of a person written with his or her own hand’. We use our handwritten signature as a part of several of our daily life activities such as when signing for a courier delivery or when purchasing goods and services using our credit card. In the business realm, a signature also plays a very important role. It is used by businesses to enter into contracts and commercial transactions. However, it is important to note that for the enforceability of such contracts and commercial transactions, a signature is not a mandatory requirement under most laws, particularly, under English law and common law systems. Under such systems, ‘the requirement for a signature originated not as a pre-requisite for the contract to be binding but for it to be enforceable in the Courts – a fine distinction’.