Filing documents with electronic signatures

When and how your signature is applied to documents

The Companies Office accepts electronic signatures on documents that currently require a conventional signature. Before submitting your documents, make sure you've read and understood our standards for using electronic signatures.

Laws governing electronic signatures

Documents traditionally signed by hand can be filed using an electronic signature. An electronic signature is defined under Section 209 of the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017.

When you can use an electronic signature

You can only file documents and information with us using an electronic signature if you're the signatory, or have authority to act on behalf of the signatory, and are:

  • using one of our online services, and
  • using software that complies with our standards, in particular keeping records of transactions where an electronic signature has been used.

Controlling when and how your signature is used

Once a document with your electronic signature has been filed with us, we consider the information:

  • has been provided with your full knowledge and agreement
  • is authentic and accurate
  • wasn't amended after your electronic signature was added to the document, unless a change has been clearly marked on the document.

You're responsible for:

  • safeguarding how and when your electronic signature and credentials are used on documents and information
  • managing who has authority to use your electronic signature on your behalf, for example, a chartered accountant.

If we question the authenticity of an electronic signature or online transaction, you must be able to demonstrate on request the validity of the software used to apply your electronic signature to the document.

Keeping records

You must use electronic signature software that captures authentication, time and source details for any online transaction where a document with your electronic signature has been filed.

These details must be held within the software itself, in the form of a file that:

  • is maintained in its original form with no amendments, and
  • can be provided to us, if requested, within a specified time.

The file must be treated as a record, as defined by the Companies Act 1993, and a business record as defined by the Evidence Act 2006.

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