Classification of Law
Common law systems originated in the Middle Ages in England, and while dependent on a system of written laws, place greater emphasis on legal precedent and court decisions to interpret how a law should be enforced. Common law countries place greater importance on evidence and the history of similar situations, based on the principle that facts and interpretation should be treated consistently over time. Common Law countries cover more than 30% of the world, including most of North America, the U.K., parts of Africa, Southeast Asia and most Commonwealth countries.
eSignature Legality Summary
Under Australian law, a written signature is not necessarily required for a valid contract - contracts are generally valid if legally competent parties reach an agreement, whether they agree verbally, electronically or in a physical paper document. The Electronic Transactions Acts in the Commonwealth, States and Territories of Australia specifically confirm that provided certain requirements are met, and a relevant exception does not apply, contracts cannot be denied enforceability merely because they are concluded electronically. Leading digital transaction management solutions can provide electronic records that are admissible in evidence under Australian laws to support the existence, authenticity and valid acceptance of a contract.
Parties can use any form of electronic signature to create valid contracts and documents of any kind that are not subject to a specific statutory form requirement or exclusion. Possible use cases include:
- HR documents (such as Employment Contracts and other new employee onboarding processes);
- certain commercial agreements (including NDAs, procurement documents, sales agreements);
- certain consumer agreements (including terms and conditions of sale);
- certain real estate documents (including Lease agreements, purchase and sales contracts;
- other related documentation for residential and commercial real estate, if permitted to be facilitated and executed electronically in the relevant jurisdiction).
Use Case Exceptions
For some types of deeds and documents, parties may need to satisfy additional formal requirements under Australian law. Additionally, relevant exclusions where digital transaction management solutions should not be used, are set out in the Electronic Transactions Acts of the Commonwealth, States and Territories of Australia and corresponding regulations. Notable exceptions include statutory declarations, powers of attorney in certain States/Territories, bills of exchange, the signature, lodgement, service and filing of documents in connection with legal proceedings in certain States/Territories, certain documents under legislation relating to health insurance, life insurance and general insurance, certain documents, notices, and consents used in connection with the provision of credit related services under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth), some property transactions in South Australia, and official Commonwealth documents such as passports.
Local Technology Standards
As part of its open, technology-neutral approach to electronic signature, there are no federal laws requiring the use of specific technology for a legally enforceable electronic signature, either for digital certificates or otherwise.
Additionally, relevant exclusions where digital transaction management solutions should not be used, are set out in the Electronic Transactions Acts of the Commonwealth, States and Territories of Australia and corresponding regulations. Notable exceptions include:
- statutory declarations;
- powers of attorney in certain States/Territories;
- bills of exchange;
- the signature, lodgement, service and filing of documents in connection with legal proceedings in certain States/Territories;
- certain documents under legislation relating to health insurance, life insurance and general insurance;
- certain documents, notices, and consents used in connection with the provision of credit related services under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth);
- some property transactions in South Australia; and
- official Commonwealth documents such as passports.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only. You use this information at your own risk. For legal advice or representation, contact a licensed attorney in your area. Laws may change quickly, so DocuSign, Inc. cannot guarantee that all the information on this form is current or correct. DOCUSIGN DOES NOT GIVE ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, SUITABILITY, OR COMPLETENESS OF THIS INFORMATION. TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED UNDER APPLICABLE LAW, NEITHER DOCUSIGN, NOR ITS AGENTS, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, OR AFFILIATES, ARE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES, LOSS OF USE OR PROFITS, OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION), EVEN IF DOCUSIGN HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT, ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF OR INABILITY TO USE THIS INFORMATION
Last updated: May 01, 2015