Simplifying Scots Contract Law

Businesses in Scotland look set to benefit from new legislation designed to improve contract law in Scotland.

The Legal Writings (Counterparts and Delivery) (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament last week and implements recommendations contained in a Scottish Law Commission Report.

The Bill provides that parties entering into a contract will now be able to get their documents legally signed and exchanged without having to meet at the same place, as is often the case at present.

In addition, it will enable documents created on paper to be delivered electronically to make them binding, and therefore resolve the doubt that currently exists as to whether faxing or emailing a copy of a signed paper document can make it legally effective.

According to the Law Commission, these improvements will promote confidence in using Scots law to form contracts and will make Scotland a better place to do business.

The Scottish Government says that  the provisions of the Bill will not only be helpful to Scottish lawyers advising on complex contracts, but will also have a wider application to smooth any transaction involving a number of parties in different places or even different countries.

At the moment, parties in such circumstances may choose to complete a contract under another legal regime, often in practice English law. However, if the provisions of the Bill come into effect then many more legal documents may be signed subject to Scots law.

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