Both Canadian law and American law, through their uniform e-transactions statutes, give a wide definition to ‘electronic signature’ – being essentially any information in electronic form in or associated with a document with an intention to sign the document.
The ‘intention to sign’ requirement aimed to ensure that the same mental element was required for an e-signature as for a handwritten signature.
A recent California Court of Appeal case, J.B.B. Investment Partners v Fair, held that a person who typed his name at the bottom of an email saying ‘ I agree’ to settlement agreement sent to him by email, did NOT intend to sign the agreement and was not bound by it.
Does this sound right to you? The Court said ‘a typed name at the end of an email is not, by itself, a signature under case law.” I do not know the case law referred to. Is there any Canadian case law that says that?
I am aware of Druet v Girouard, where the NB CA speculated that some kinds of document are so important that they need particularly secure e-signatures. (para 30) I know of no authority for that statement, and I am far from sure it’s sound in principle. (In that case, the Court also held that the parties had not intended to be bound by the emails – or at least the purported vendor had not – but that was a conclusion from the text, not from the form or method of the signature.)
What do you think? Should the form of the signature govern the intention in law? So far as I know, it does not for handwritten signatures.