E-sign Laws: British Virgin Islands

Date published: 2020-11-10   — by Celestine Loh

Part 15: Signing in to the digital age

40% of the world’s offshore companies are listed as British Virgin Islands (BVI) Company Registrations. The reason why almost half of the total is listed with BVI is because of the multitude of benefits and opportunities that comes with being BVI-registered. 

With a strong and robust legal framework and a low-key international profile, conducting businesses with BVI is simple and straightforward. Known as a “tax haven”, BVI is an attractive place to conduct business at.

BVI has an independent judicial system, meaning that prospective investors ought to be kept up to date with their legal processes.

The Electronic Transactions Act was implemented to help streamline and increase the convenience with incorporating and starting businesses in BVI.

Read on to learn more about the legal compliance for electronic signatures in British Virgin Islands specifically and watch out for more in this series on Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, China, New Zealand, Australia, UK, Cayman Islands, and BVI.

The Rules

(1) Where a law or agreement requires a signature, that requirement is satisfied in relation to an electronic communication if:

(a) a method is used to identify the person and to indicate that the person intended to sign or otherwise adopt the information in the electronic communication; and

(b) the method used in error in electronic communications.

Requirement for signature:

(i) as reliable as appropriate for the purpose for which the electronic communication was generated or communicated, in the light of all the circumstances, including any relevant agreement; or

(ii) proven to have fulfilled the functions described in paragraph (a), by itself or together with further evidence.

Applicability of an Electronic Signature 

Where signature creation data or authentication data can be used to create a signature or authenticate any electronic communication that has legal effect, each signatory shall

(a) exercise reasonable care to avoid unauthorised use of his or her signature creation data or authentication data;

(b) without undue delay, notify any person who may reasonably be expected by the signatory to rely on or to provide services in support of the electronic signature if

(i) the signatory knows that the signature creation data or authentication data has been compromised; or

(ii) the circumstances known to the signatory give rise to a substantial risk that the signature creation data or authentication data may have been compromised;and 

(c) where a certificate is used to support the electronic signature or authentication data, exercise reasonable care to ensure the accuracy and completeness of all material representation made by the signatory, which are relevant to the certificate throughout its lifecycle, or which are to be included in the certificate.

It is important to note that technology is fast advancing and as countries race to keep up with it legally, everyone should do their part to learn the legal implications of electronic-based business transactions.  

This article does not constitute legal advice.

The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.

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READ MORE: Is e-signing legally binding? 

EBOOK: E-signatures

Tags: British Virgin Islands | BVI | electronic signature

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