How e-signing works with Zegal

26/12/2016

As Head of Legal at Zegal I’m normally the one doing seminars and presentations. I get a lot of challenging questions from business owners, and recent one encouraged me to write this article.

e-signature dragonlaw

A gentleman asked me if electronic signing (e-signing) is legal in Hong Kong. ‘Yes’ I answered confidently, ‘legal in Hong Kong, Singapore and a host of other common law jurisdictions’. This is normally enough, but he followed up with a more interesting question: Is it more open to fraud?

I used to be a specialist fraud lawyer, so I found this particularly interesting. We’re used the idea of ‘wet ink’ signatures, and seeing somebody sign with a pen leaves you pretty certain that it was they who signed the contract! But what if you don’t see them sign?

Before you enter into a contract you have no doubt communicated with the other side (it would be strange if you hadn’t), so that is why we normally comfortable with sending a contract by post or email, and why you can often sign ‘counterparts’…..each party signs a different document. If you send a document in the post then you assume that it’s signed by the person you sent it to. Why wouldn’t you?

Zegal e-signing uses the email (provided by the other side of course) to which a signing link is sent.  The signing dates are time stamped and the document (stored in our cloud) cannot be amended after signature (as can be done with a print out). So it might be argued, and I would strongly, that e-signing is more secure that sending a contract in the post or as an email attachment.

Not sure what e-signing is?  We’ve summarised everything
you need to know in this guide: E-Signatures

The gentleman in question seemed satisfied with my answer, but suggested that e-signing might be used to create ‘fake’ parties……fake shareholders or fake buyers maybe. This, I agreed, might be the case, but a fake name and signature can be added to a word document.

I’ve since had a good long think about how e-signing might make fraud easier than old fashioned signing. I even asked my colleagues to try and come up with any idea. No ideas yet!

Like most technological advancements e-signing is quicker, easier, cheaper, and here to stay.

Christopher Sykes

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