This information is strictly for educational purposes and is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, legal advice or opinion and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need a legal advice, please obtain it from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction.
Electronic documents and signatures are legally binding for nearly every business or personal transaction around the world. Many countries in the world have adopted an electronic signature law or recognize electronic signatures. Digital waivers are now considered as legally binding as a paper equivalent, and therefore subject to the same legal scrutiny of authenticity that applies to paper documents.
In 1999, The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (“UETA”), which outlines the legal framework for states to follow and that makes electronic signatures as valid as traditional handwritten signatures and provides uniform guidelines for their use in commerce. In June 30, 2000, the Congress enacted Federal law Electronic Signatures in the Global and National Commerce Act (“E-sign Act”) that grants legal recognition and legal effect of an electronic signature (eSign). This law lays out the guidelines for interstate commerce. Nonetheless, every state has at least one law pertaining to electronic signatures. 47 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have adopted the UETA. Illinois, New York and Washington States, have their own laws making e-signatures valid.
The UK has the equivalent legislation to the E-sign Act in the United States called Electronic Communications Act 2000.
In July 2014, EU established Regulation No 910/2014 on Electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services (“eIDAS”). Similar to Us law, that regulation created standards for which electronic signatures and other proof for authentication mechanisms enable electronic transactions with the same legal standing as transactions performed on paper.