Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Contents

Buying, selling and coronavirus

In this section you'll find information and updates related to coronavirus that are relevant to the law on buying and selling.

The UK's response to coronavirus is changing regularly and often very quickly. While we'll continue to make every effort to keep this page up to date, there may be short periods where what you read here is not the latest information available. Where possible we've tried to provide links to official sources, so you can check the current situation.

Complaints, disputes and your consumer rights

See the Coronavirus (COVID-19) section in our Complaints and disputes guide for information on your consumer rights, travel disruption, rogue advertising and court action during the pandemic.

Signing contracts with electronic signatures

Due to social distancing restriction, signing contracts has become more difficult during the pandemic. This has put new focus on electronic signatures and their validity.

Electronic signatures include all signatures where the person signing does not use a pen (or other writing instrument) by hand to write directly on paper. In English law, electronic signatures are not a new concept. In 2019 the Law Commission published a report confirming that electronic signatures could be used to execute (i.e. formally sign) documents and deeds (although their report did not consider the execution of wills or deeds that need to be submitted to the Land Registry for registration).

If the person signing the contract using an electronic signature intends to be bound by the document they're signing, and all other legal requirements such as witnessing are complied with, e-signed contracts will be just as enforceable as one signed by hand.

You have to be careful, though, when the signature is on behalf of a corporation. Ask the signatory to confirm that they have authority to sign and bind the corporation by electronic means and check the corporations' articles for any indication that electronic signatures are restricted.

Copyright © 2020 Epoq Group Ltd. All trademarks acknowledged, all rights reserved

This website is operated by Epoq Legal Ltd, company number 3707955, whose registered office is at 2 Imperial Place, Maxwell Road, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 1JN. Epoq Legal Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA number 645296).