MoJ convenes group to boost credentials of electronic signatures
Expert panel intends to implement standards and increase confidence in use of technology
The Ministry of Justice has convened a working group of industry experts with a remit to improve the credentials of electronic signatures.
This will be achieved via improving pan-industry standards related to “reliability and security”, as well as promoting best practice. The group first met over the summer and, by the end of 2021, intends to produce an “interim report” in which it will publish its “initial thoughts and areas to be explored further, together with those areas that may require public consultation”.
The MoJ said: “[The group’s] terms of reference include best practice guidance for the use of electronic signatures, analysis of different technologies’ security and reliability and investigating solutions and safeguards for video-witnessing of deeds. The group will make recommendations for reform to government as well as provide guidance which will insist businesses and professional practitioners.”
The group is chaired by High Court judge Mr Justice Fraser, with additional oversight from Lord Justice Birss and professor Sarah Green from the Law Commission. Other members include: Catherine Goodman; Charlotte Ponder; Chris Jones; Elizabeth Wall; Eoin O’Reilly; John Joliffe; Jonathon Read; Michael Lightowler; Neil Singer; Quintus Travis; Simon James; and Simon Law.
“The government sees the [group] as playing an important role, alongside existing law reform projects, in ensuring the UK is a centre for legal excellence in developing the law to support and facilitate digital trade and commerce,” the MoJ added.
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But tech firms also see continued challenges, including overlapping frameworks and lack of clarity on social-value requirements