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Electronic signing by companies for now…Henry Jones Posted 20 August 2021
On 13 August 2021 the Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No. 1) Bill 2021 (Bill) received Royal Assent. The Bill allows companies, once again, to execute documents electronically under section 127 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
In May 2020 temporary measures were instituted by the Federal Government to allow companies to execute documents electronically, however, those temporary measures expired on 21 March 2021.
The Bill allows companies to execute documents electronically until 1 April 2022. During this time directors and secretaries may sign documents electronically, provided:
- a method is used to identify the person and to indicate the person’s intention to sign a copy or counterpart of the document;
- the copy or counterpart includes the entire contents of the document; and
- the method used was reliable and appropriate for the circumstances.
In respect of a ‘method’ used, this includes an electronic signature platform such as DocuSign or using a stylus tool to sign a PDF document.
It is worth noting that a company may continue to execute documents in the traditional manner by applying ‘wet ink’ signatures to a physical paper document. The Bill also permits a combination of different methods to be used to execute a company document.