CVLs – Electronic Signatures
- it is sent or supplied in hard copy form by or on behalf of the person who signed it, or
- it is sent or supplied in electronic form, provided that the identity of the sender is confirmed in a manner specified by the company or (where no such manner has been specified by the company) if the communication contains or is accompanied by a statement of the identity of the sender and the company has no reason to doubt the truth of that statement.
Statement of Affairs
(b) where the recipient has not so specified, if the communication contains or is accompanied by a statement of the identity of the sender and the recipient has no reason to doubt the truth of that statement.While this provision does not explicitly state that a statement of affairs can be signed using an electronic signature, the signatory of a statement of affairs is ultimately providing a statement of truth. Indeed, electronically executed statements of truth have been found valid by the Courts.
In the case, of Fitzpatrick v AIG Europe Ltd, (unreported), 1 July 2015, (Liverpool County Court), District Judge Jenkinson held that electronic signature of the witness statements complied with the CPR rules.
Another noteworthy case is the Court of Appeal decision in Zurich Insurance plc v Romaine  EWCA Civ 851. In this case, the Court of Appeal granted permission to bring committal proceedings against a claimant who had knowingly made false statements of truth. Two of the statements had been executed with e-signatures. The claimant argued that he had never signed a statement of truth or seen the Part 18 responses, which contained an electronic signature. The Court noted that such evidence and explanation would be a matter for the court at the substantive contempt hearing.
It is important to note that there is significant legal uncertainty surrounding the execution of deeds using e-signature. HM Land Registry have recently amended their policy on this subject and - in certain circumstances - will now accept electronically executed deeds see Land Registry Practice Guide 8. We would strongly suggest obtaining legal advice before you attempt to execute any deed using an e-signature.
It is vitally important to ensure that you have sufficient evidence that the electronic signature was actually authorised or actioned by the person purporting to sign.
In order to mitigate the risk of a challenge to the signatory’s identity, it would be wise to use a third-party platform such as DocuSign or Adobe Sign to obtain signatures. These platforms offer a range of measures that will help identify the person executing the document. For example, you can add a security code that must be entered before the document can be signed. Therefore, if only the signatory is aware of the code, then only he/she can sign the document.