Digital eSignatures are legally binding in most parts of the world including the USA, European Union, and the UK. Get more details about specific countries here
In Australia, electronic signatures are governed by combination of Federal and state laws. At the Federal level, electronic signatures are governed by the Electronic Transactions Act 1999, and at the state level there are several corresponding statutes that stipulate further requirements that have to satisfied for electronic signatures to be valid. The general view is that if the requirements of the ETAs are satisfied, contracts can be executed electronically with a low risk of invalidity in a Court of law.
According to the laws stipulated in the ETA, an electronic signature will be valid if three requirements are met:
A valid electronic signature in Australia has the same weight as a traditional signature done in wet-ink. The validity of the electronic signature is based mainly on the rules stipulated in the ETAs. Nevertheless, Australia operates on the basis of the common law, and such, there are some instances in which an electronic signature would be considered valid even when these rules are not followed. For example, a document signed electronically on behalf of a corporation may still be validly executed under Australian common law. The Corporations Act 2001 indicates that a corporation may execute a document without using a common seal, and in such circumstances the corporation would be exempt from ETAs. The ETAs therefore also serve as indication and certainty and clarity as it relates to electronic signature.
There are some documents that cannot be signed electronically. Such documents include documents that need to be witnessed (Ex. deeds), signatures of witnesses in some states, as well as Wills, Power of Attorney, Real estate agreements and, Migration or citizenship documents
Note: This information for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Consult a licensed attorney for legal advice or representation.