Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Electronic Signatures in Pleadings

In our remedial law review class as we were discussing the requirement that a pleading must be signed by counsel, a question was raised. Can the counsel affix an electronic signature? Surely that would make life easier for the counsel, the courts and the client. However, while the law requires authentication by evidence that a method or process was utilized to establish and verify the same, by any other means provided by law or by any other means satisfactory to the judge as establishing the electronic signature, I have worries that this privilege might be abused. Akin to some notary publics who delegate their tasks of signing the affidavits and affixing the dry seal to their secretaries, some lawyers might be tempted to rely on their staff to do the same. This is a huge responsibility to place in persons who might not realize the importance of this signature which as specified in the Rules of Court “constitutes a certificate by him that he has read the pleading; that to the best of his knowledge, information, and belief there is good ground to support it; and that it is not interposed for delay.” Are we ready for such risk?

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