Are electronic signatures legal in Australia?

Since the Electronic Transactions Act in 1999, e-signatures have been seen as a legal form of signing in Australia. This gives an open attitude to using them when trading.

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.


The information in the legality guides are for general information purposes only and are not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing electronic signature may change quickly, so Signable cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. If you have specific legal questions about any of the information on this site, you should consult with a licensed attorney in your area.
Last updated on: January 2020