UK Government to Increase Electronic Execution of Documents with Electronic Signatures

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UK Government to Increase Electronic Execution of Documents with Electronic Signatures E-SignatureCompliance Michael Magrath Mon, 04/11/2022 – 01:00 E-Signature

In 2019, the UK Law Commission published a report entitled Electronic Execution of Documents. The report confirmed that electronic signatures can replace handwritten signatures for most business transactions and legal processes. More importantly, however, the report recognized that uncertainties regarding legal validity have hindered adoption and use of electronic signatures. The Law Commission recommended that a working group be established to address this issue in hopes of increasing adoption of electronic documents by publishing best practices and proposing legal, policy, and technical reforms.

An Industry Working Group (IWG) was then assembled in 2021 under the direction of the Ministry of Justice. The IWG just published an interim report on 1 February 2022, saying:

“The group’s clear view is that electronic signatures can and should be used today on a wide scale, and that members of society should have confidence in doing so.”

The work of the Industry Working Group is genuinely exciting and essential to modernizing business in the UK. Yet, after two decades, the government needs to help jump-start adoption to make the electronic execution of documents the norm across the UK. In support of this effort, this blog summarizes the highlights from this valuable 100-page report with my thoughts on their best practices guidance and recommendations.

Why Has Adoption of UK Electronic Signature Lagged?

The report begins

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