THE Western Australian Government recently enacted the Electronic Transactions Act.
The act’s stated aim is to "… facilitate the use of electronic transactions, promote business and community confidence in the use of electronic transactions and enable business and the community to use electronic transactions in their dealings with government …"
The ETA changes the law significantly in some ways such as:
• Any requirements or permission for giving information in writing is taken to be met if the person gives the information in an electronic communication where at the time the information was given it was reasonable to expect the information would be readily accessible so as to be useable for subsequent reference; and the person to whom the information is required to be given consents to the information being given electronically;
If a signature of the person is required then that requirement is taken to have been met if a reliable method is used to identify the person sending the signature, that person’s approval is indicated and the person receiving the signature has consented to the use of electronic means of communication; and
An electronic communication is dispatched when it enters an information systems outside the control of the originator (unless otherwise agreed). If the addressee has specified the information system to be used, the electronic communication is received when it enters that person’s information system. If the addressee has not specified the information system to be used, then the electronic communication is received when it comes to the attention of the addressee.
However, the ETA may have only limited application to lenders.
It does not apply to the Consumer Credit Code & Regulations, to wills, powers of attorney, documents required to be verified, authenticated, witnessed or transactions that are required to be effected by personal service.
You should ensure that your receive advice in relation to which aspects of your business will be affected by this act.
Alison Robertson, partner
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