Scanned Copies of Contracts: Are They Legally Binding?
With the advancement of technology, almost everything has been digitized, including contracts. The convenience of sending and receiving contracts through email or other digital platforms has made it easier for businesses to handle their paperwork. However, there is a lingering question: are scanned copies of contracts legally binding?
The short answer is yes, scanned copies of contracts are legally binding. The reason behind this is that the law recognizes electronic signatures as a valid form of signing a contract. Electronic signatures are defined as “an electronic sound, symbol or process, attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record” (Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, 2000).
In other words, electronic signatures have the same legal effect as their handwritten counterparts, as long as the parties involved in the contract agree to accept electronic signatures. Electronic signatures can take many different forms, including a scanned copy of a handwritten signature or an electronic signature using a software program.
In addition to electronic signatures, the law also recognizes electronic records as valid evidence in court. This means that scanned copies of contracts can be used as evidence in legal disputes, as long as they are authentic and reliable.
However, it is important to note that there are still certain requirements that must be met in order for scanned copies of contracts to be legally binding. The most important of these requirements is that both parties must agree to the use of electronic signatures and documents. This agreement can be made in several ways, such as through a written agreement or by simply exchanging emails with the scanned contract attached.
Another requirement is that there must be a valid and reliable method of identifying the parties to the contract and verifying the authenticity of their signatures. This can be done through various methods, such as password-protected documents or digital certificates.
In summary, scanned copies of contracts are legally binding as long as they meet certain requirements. The law recognizes electronic signatures as a valid form of signing a contract, and electronic records are also recognized as valid evidence in court. However, parties involved in the contract must agree to accept electronic signatures, and there must be a reliable method of identifying and verifying the parties involved in the contract. As long as these requirements are met, using scanned copies of contracts can save time and make the contract process more convenient.