The lord chancellor has confirmed that documents signed electronically have legal force in England and Wales – even when a statutory requirement for a signature predates the digital age.

The statement released on 3 March 2020 confirms the conclusions of last year’s report by the Law Commission, which hoped to resolve any lingering doubts over the issue.

Electronic signatures “are permissible and can be used in confidence in commercial and consumer documents”, the lord chancellor stated. He acknowledged, however, that some issues need further expert consideration. These include:

  • video witnessing
  • making sure that vulnerable people are not negatively impacted.