One of the great things to come out of the global pandemic was the legal industry needing to quickly adapt to the use of rapidly changing technology to streamline many things that were screaming out for a refresh, such the signing of legal documents. Thankfully, electronic signatures are now here to stay.
In 2020 temporary amendments were made to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) about the electronic signing of some documents. Fortunately, these changes became permanent on 23 February 2022 with the enactment of the Corporations Amendment (Meetings and Documents) Act 2022 (Cth).
Put away your fountain pens and quills! Contracts can now be sent and legally signed electronically and via other forms of digital communication. The law now permits documents to be exchanged and signed by companies and individuals without the need to put pen to paper. Being able to sign documents electronically will reduce the complexity of entering into legal documents, as well as assist in the execution of documents by those working remotely or located in different jurisdictions.
These efficiencies extend to the former rule which provided that people signing on behalf of the one corporate entity had to all sign the same document in ‘wet ink’. Directors of companies needed to both be present and sign the same execution clause of the hard copy contract or deed with a pen. Now you can sign different copies of the same document in different formats, from another location by pen or electronically. Imagine that!
The new electronic counterparts rules now mean that two separate copies of the contract when taken together can now form the one signed contract, irrespective of how they are signed.
The era of Zooming remotely has produced new efficiencies which will simplify the signing of documents, making the entry into legally binding agreements simpler, which is great news.
Get in touch with us if you need more information about updating your business contacts to allow for documents to be signed electronically.