Electronic signatures in the Cayman Islands

07 Apr 2020

With the advent of the pandemic we have seen greatly increased interest in signing documents in electronic form. Helpfully, the Cayman Islands Electronic Transactions Law (2003 Revision) (the "ETL") provides that an electronic signature is treated with the evidential validity of a "wet ink" signature when signing a contract or deed.

What are the key provisions of the ETL?
The ETL provides that, subject to certain requirements, contracts will not be excluded from having full legal effect by virtue of their execution with an electronic signature. Usually, either the originator of the electronic record, an authorised person or the originator's electronic agent will send an agreement to the intended signatory for execution.

What are the requirements?
In order for the electronic signature to be "reliable" the following requirements must be met:

  • the means of creating the electronic signature is, within the context in which it is used, linked to the signatory and to no other person;
  • the means of creating the electronic signature was, at the time of signing, under the control of the signatory and of no other person;
  • any alteration to the electronic signature, made after the time of signing, is detectable; and
  • where a purpose of the legal requirement for a signature is to provide assurance as to the integrity of the information to which it relates, any alteration made to that information after the time of signing is detectable.

Who is responsible for ensuring compliance?
A person seeking to rely on an electronic signature bears the legal consequences:

  • of his failure to take reasonable steps to verify the reliability of an electronic signature; or
  • if an electronic signature is supported by a certificate, take reasonable steps to verify the validity, suspension or revocation of the certificate or observe any limitation with respect to the certificate.

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