In the era of the “digital economy” (with nearly 1/3 of shopping done on-line[1] and 44% of UK on-line payments made using a mobile device[2]), companies are increasingly questioning why their contracts and customer/supplier interactions cannot be moved to an entirely paperless model.

Banks, insurance companies, retailers, telcos, utility providers, software vendors and airlines have all been successful in shifting some (if not all) of their consumer contracting to an on-line model; ticking a box sufficient to confirm a transaction and accept associated Ts&Cs.

To tackle the B2B market, providers of e-signatures have proliferated, encouraged by favourable regulatory regimes in Europe, the US and further afield. DocuSign claim that 50 million customers in 188 countries use their service[3]; Adobe assert that an e-signature solution can “cut out the cost and hassle of paper-based tasks,” and “speed business transactions.[4]

However the absence of globally harmonised legislation, coupled with cumbersome local laws, have led to uncertainty around the scope of application and validity of e-signatures. Likewise “Cloud” delivery models (employed by the majority of service providers) present challenges, particularly from the point of view of data security and data residency.

Detailed briefing on e-signatures

A detailed briefing is available on request to Eversheds clients. In the briefing we consider:

  • the various forms of e-signature
  • the benefits of e-signatures
  • the legal landscape (with a global overview)
  • barriers to adoption
  • factors to consider in procuring an e-signature platform
  • practical considerations when implementing an e-signature platform
  • drafting policies for the use of e-signatures in your business
  • future developments (including digital passports)

Policy Review & Implementation

Introducing electronic contracting requires a mix of technology, legal advice and practical experience. Our Technology team, together with Eversheds Consulting, can help clients define business objectives, manage vendor due diligence, and assist with the implementation of streamlined contracting processes. With the strength of our global network, we can help multi-national clients define global policies, taking into account local law, custom and practice.