Some of the government priorities for using the new Act to update legislation include: allowing companies to publish their annual reports on the Web; allowing electronic conveyancing; easing electronic submission of trade statistics and permitting electronic authentication of public records for court proceedings.
The new Act takes effect immediately with the exception of clauses concerning legal admissibility of electronic signatures. The act does however implements an element of the Electronic Signatures Directive.
Patricia Hewitt, e-minister, said: ‘This new legislation will create confidence in doing business electronically, giving legal certainty to electronic signatures and encouraging the development of secure and trusted e-commerce services.’
A discussion website has been set up www.e-envoy.gov.uk to allow the public and businesses to give their views. Copies of the new act will shortly be available on the Stationary Office website: www.uk-legislation.hmso.gov.uk/acts.htm
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