In this article: 1. Can an e-mail enter into a legally binding contract? 2. Is a promise made in an e-mail legally binding? 3. Are e-mail authorizations legally binding? 4. Do you want emails to be legally binding? Today, pixels reign. Emails, instant messaging and other electronic communications (together for this article “emails”) have revolutionized the way we all communicate and correspond. They made it lightning-fast and much more informal than paper correspondence, such as traditional letters and faxes. But, like most innovations, these electronic means of correspondence have created new problems. The main one is the involuntary and unwanted contract. But wait, it`s going to get worse.
The exchange of e-mail may also inadvertently modify existing contracts. This was the case in another case in New York, where the court found that the written employment contract of an officer who was malfunctioning had been altered by an email exchange between him and the president of the principal company of the management. These emails outlined a proposed new role for the leader within the organization. The executive “accepts (the) proposal with total enthusiasm and excitement…” Can you use this email as evidence in court? That`s for sure. Most people see contracts as formal agreements that are written and signed by the parties involved, often with lawyers present, but the fact is that a contract is only an agreement between several parties for the exchange of valuables and that the physical form of the contract is not so important. Contract formation is one of the oldest forms of human interaction. This is due to the oral contract that made Adam and Eve agree with God to live in the Garden of Eden (which, of course, led to the first violation of contractual actions – a very severe judgment) that led to Neanderthal contracts created by grunts and gestures. The advent of written communication brought the signature originally made with a kind of primitive tool to “make a sign” with an “X” or another coarse qualifier on a wall or other surface. This went as far as signing a document that became too elegant.
Sealed wax, seal rings and pen pencils, which have been used for centuries, often followed by bacchanalian eating, drinking and cavorting to celebrate the compliance of the agreement. This, in turn, allowed simple ink signatures to flourish. Sometimes, for speed and convenience, you`ll want to make a contract by email. If you do, make sure that what has been agreed by both parties is perfectly clear. The only time you shouldn`t use emails as evidence is when they are “unprejudiced.” “Without prejudice” means that they are “from the record.” Knowing that your client is difficult and make only excuses for not paying, you dig through your emails. They find one where they say how much they love their new product. So you have to look back through the emails to see exactly what was said and determine the trust your client placed in that statement. As we have seen, e-mails can be legally binding.