Global FinTech Guide
Country Name
United Kingdom
Signature requirements
The signature requirements pertain the legal or contractual requirements in order to make a legally effective declaration of intent or a legally binding contract.

Possibility to replace a specific formal requirement of making a binding declaration of intention

Under UK law there are two formal methods for securing such and these are either by signature or by formal deed. In simple terms deeds are used for more longer term or more formal commitments and require witnessing by independent witnesses. Either can be varied by a further document using the same formalities and by agreement of all parties (i.e. not unilaterally by one single party). Other methodologies are being explored (see (f) below) but at the date of writing have only secured limited acceptance.

Presence of any specific formal requirements to effectively conclude a loan agreement

Loan Agreements may be concluded by means of a simple signature save where such is secured by land when a formal deed will be required.

Process of conclusion of a contract by using a qualified electronic signature in practice

Qualified electronic signatures are still in their infancy in the UK, there is a pilot scheme currently in place with a limited number of organisations with HM Land Registry in relation to real estate but this is only comparatively recently commenced.

There is also a key scheme known as the Government Gateway ( which forms the basis of UK residents relationships with HM Revenue and Customs but at date of writing this scheme is only available in that particular space and has no wide spread application. In particular it does only apply to UK residents.

Legal consequences to a contract in case of not fulfilling formal requirements

If formal legal requirements the contents of any document are not binding on the parties and will not be valid, any contract for the supply of goods need not be fulfilled and if a loan document then any advance would not necessarily be required to be repaid.

Usual practice of signing contractual agreements in the B2B sector

See above. In essence it depends whether it involves real estate or otherwise (absence of consideration).

Usual practice of signing contractual agreements in the B2C sector

Contractual agreements are normally signed by way of personal signature but increasingly the UK is seeing the use of electronic signatures typically by using the DocuSign methodology further details of this can be found at



© 2022, Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP; Shakespeare Martineau. All rights reserved by Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP; Shakespeare Martineau as author and the owner of the copyright in this chapter. Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP; Shakespeare Martineau has granted to Multilaw non-exclusive worldwide license to use and include this chapter in this guide and to sublicense Lexis Nexis, a division of RELX Inc. and its affiliates certain rights to use and distribute this guide.

The information in this guide provides a general overview at the time of publication and is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all legal developments nor should it be taken as opinion or legal advice on the matters covered. It is for general information purposes only and readers should take legal advice from a Multilaw member firm.


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