The Federal Parliament has passed a Bill making the electronic signing by companies of documents permanent. The Federal Parliament passed the Corporations Amendment (Meetings and Documents) Bill 2021 (Cth) on 10 Feb 2022. The measures will commence the day after the Bill receives Royal Assent. The new s 110A provides that:

  • a person may sign a document in a physical form by hand or electronic form using electronic means if the method used for signing identifies the person, indicates their intention to be bound and is as reliable as appropriate (and this can be done under section 126 or section 127 of the Corporations Act);
  • a person is not required to sign the same form of the document as another person, sign the same page as another person or use the same method as another person; and
  • a person may sign a document in multiple capacities by signing the document only once provided the document makes it clear the person is signing in different capacities.

Moreover, the Bill allows a company (or a person exercising the powers of a company) to sign a document (including a deed) in an electronic form using electronic means. In jurisdictions which have abolished the Common Law paper rule by statute (ie NSW, Victoria and Queensland), a deed may be created and signed electronically in a broad range of circumstances but in other Australian jurisdictions, there are still potential issues until those States and Territories enact their own legislation removing the requirement that a deed be written on paper, parchment or vellum.

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