Are electronic signatures legal in Australia?


Yes, e-signatures are court admissible

Each country has it’s own regulations that determine whether an electronic signature is seen as legal or not. So, as long as your electronic signature adheres to these, a signature won’t be rejected simply for not being handwritten.

Yes, e-signatures can be used in business

Whilst 100% legal; there are exceptions for very specific types of transactions. It is still up to the discretion of the independent user, or governing body, whether they are used or not. As each business needs are different and the agreements themselves may vary. We always advise you to speak with an authority within your businesses category.

Legal Model

Australia’s legal model is an open one. This means that unlike a tiered model, (that see’s Qualified Electronic Signatures as a legitimate form of e-signature), there aren’t any technology requirements for electronic signature types. And so a QES won’t receive legal status.

Legal Classification

Australia operates a Common Law system, which is based on:

  • Judicial decisions are seen as binding
  • Laws aren’t always of a written structure
  • Few provisions are hinted at into the contract, by law
  • Generally, everything is permitted that isn’t expressly prohibited by law

Few provisions are implied into a contract under the common law system – so it’s important to cover all the terms governing the relationship between the parties to a contract in the contract itself. This usually means that contracts are typically longer than one in a civil law country.

Full Summary

Under Australian law, contracts are seen as valid as long as legally able parties have come to an agreement. This can be done through either verbal, electronic or physical methods. This is stated through The Electronic Transactions Acts in the Commonwealth, States and Territories of Australia. Which confirms that as long as requirements are met with no relevant exceptions, contracts are enforceable.