Does your jurisdiction maintain a list of trusted entities to qualify e-signatures?
No. Any requirement that a signature be notarized or acknowledged is satisfied if the electronic signature of the person authorized to perform those acts together with all other required information is attached to or logically associated with the electronic signature. Similarly, if a statute or regulation requires that a contract or record be retained, that requirement is met by retaining an accessible, electronic record. Both the E-Signature Act and the UETA are considered “technology-neutral.”
Please provide a quick overview of the law, i.e., types of contracts that qualify for use with e-signature.
The E-Signature Act is extremely broad, governing electronic contracts and signatures on records used in any transaction in or effecting interstate or foreign commerce. New Jersey’s UETA is likewise broad, applying to any electronic record or electronic signature relating at a transaction that was created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored on or after the UETA’s effective date, including internal auditing and accounting records connected to the transaction.
What is the legality of e-signatures in your jurisdiction? Are there key exceptions?
As an Official Comment to the UETA clarifies, the UETA does not apply to unilateral actions, thereby providing a structural limitation on its scope. Consequently, any interaction that does not involve another person would not be covered by the UETA. Additionally, the UETA does not apply to the Uniform Commercial Code except for Section 1-107, Section 1-206, all of Article 2, and all of Article 2A. The UETA also does not apply to wills and codicils, testamentary trusts, adoptions, and divorce.
What is the e-signature law enforceable in your jurisdiction?
On October 1, 2000, the Federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (“E-Signature Act”) took effect. 15 U.S.C. § 7002. In response, the New Jersey Legislature adopted an entirely new chapter in Article 12A of its Uniform Commercial Code, called the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (“UETA”), which became effective on June 26, 2001. N.J.S. §§ 12A:12-1 to 12A:12-26. The UETA provides that a signature may not be denied legal effect solely for being in electronic form.