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Description - Electronic Signatures in Law by Stephen Mason

This book considers the function of the electronic signature, and demonstrates the flexibility of the English common law in recognising its various changes in form in response to technology. This new 2nd edition has been fully revised and updated in line with new case law and changes in legislation and codes. In keeping with the international nature of the internet, this book covers almost every jurisdiction which has a law on electronic signatures, including three brand-new comparative chapters on Canada, the US and Germany.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781847660510
ISBN-10: 1847660517
Format: Hardback
(248mm x 156mm x mm)
Pages: 728
Imprint: Tottel Publishing
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publish Date: 1-Jul-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Electronic Signatures in Law by Stephen Mason

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Book Review: Electronic Signatures in Law by Stephen Mason - Reviewed by (09 Aug 2014)


An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

Stephen Mason, in the second edition of his work ‘Electronic Signatures in Law’, sums up the balance between his work and the long established and companion of renowned, ‘Byles on Bills of Exchange and Cheques’ (28th edition), when he writes that a colleague once referred to electronic signatures as the ‘burning branch of obscurity.

Mason’s friend was “indicating, indirectly, that although electronic signatures in their many forms are used daily by millions of people millions of times”, the understanding surrounding the topic (like bills of exchange) was negligible! This work by Mason is a particular relevance to those who study the formation of contracts in an electronic age where the old rules tend to be changing by reason of modern necessity.

Mason succeeds here with his aim to bring the topic of electronic signatures into focus with students, lawyers and non lawyers in an age where the common law notion that it ‘never had much truck with technological objections’ could not be more unfortunate as the global market place dominates.

Mason’s book, itself, is an excellent exposition of practices across the world with 16 detailed chapters, five appendices and a glossary.

He provides an in-depth analysis of:

• what constitutes an electronic signature

• the form an electronic signature can take

• issues relating to evidence, formation of contract and negligence; and

• guest authors writing chapters to cover Canada, Germany and the USA.


As the global economy takes full control this century, ‘Mason on Electronic Signatures’ reviews these ‘electronic signature acts’ throughout the world and investigates how they have been amended by examining a number of important cases which have been reported in the following jurisdictions which may be of interest to your firm.

They are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, England & Wales, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and the United States of America.

This second edition is very timely giving a practical and whilst comprehensive guide to the understanding of what an electronic signature is.

The book starts with a clear overview of the concept and history of all forms of signature and provides a fantastic insight into the way the world now views this method of asset exchange since Victorian times and is very much a book for the twenty-first century.