New expert group to increase confidence and standards in e-signatures

The Ministry of Justice has established an Industry Working Group of experts to improve standards, reliability and security in electronic signatures and other means of legally executing documents, and to address best practice in this area.

The Group was set up following a recommendation by the Law Commission which the Lord Chancellor welcomed and has implemented, with the membership recruited via a public appointments campaign.

The Group is chaired by Mr Justice Fraser under the oversight of Lord Justice Birss, and assisted by Professor Sarah Green of the Law Commission. Members are experts drawn from the legal, business and technology sectors.

The Group began meeting in summer 2021 and is aiming to produce an interim report by the end of the year, setting out its initial thoughts and areas to be explored further, together with those areas that may require public consultation

Its terms of reference include best practice guidance for the use of electronic signatures, analysis of different technologies’ security and reliability and investigating solutions and safeguards for video-witnessing of deeds.

The Group will make recommendations for reform to government as well as provide guidance which will insist businesses and professional practitioners.

The government sees the Groups as playing an important role, alongside existing law reform projects, in ensuring the UK is a centre for legal excellence in developing the law to support and facilitate digital trade and commerce.

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