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You may have already agreed to a contract without even knowing it

You may have already agreed to a contract without even knowing it

Like a Saskatchewan farmer who was asked to pay $82,000 after agreeing to a contract using a simple emoji, you may have already given your consent without even knowing it.

In an interview with LCN, Alter Lexis founder and attorney, Me Alexandre Langlois, commented on the recent decision of a Saskatchewan judge, before discussing the reality of Quebec in terms of contract approval.

“The judge’s ruling confirmed the new reality of communications,” says Me Langlois.

The lawyer states that many people in the business community are now sending contracts and other legal documents to each other by text or email. It was this fact that led the judge to decide that the thumbs up symbol was equivalent to a handwritten signature.

I think that the verdict, which can also be overturned on appeal, will not become the new norm, as Anna Alexandre Langlois believes.

“It’s going to be case by case. This isn’t an absolute rule that was just put in place by a judge in Saskatchewan,” he explains.

Moreover, common law in Quebec is different from Saskatchewan law, but this story should serve as a reminder that even here, signing isn’t the only way to agree to a contract, the lawyer believes.

“What is important in contract law is the intent of the parties. To be able to reach that conclusion, you have to ask yourself what the true intent of the parties is, and the judge concludes that this inch is worth accepting the contract as a whole,” says Me Langlois.

The latter is also of the opinion that we should be more wary of electronic contract exchanges.

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“I give advice to my clients, especially in business,” says the lawyer.

In Quebec, the signature is translated into a motto or image that corresponds to the person giving their consent, opening the door to more than the traditional signature.

A simple verbal agreement can act as a contract.

“Although we use this signature, it may be useful to accept the contract as a whole and there is a contract, once consent is exchanged between the parties, whether there is a writing or not,” assures Ana Alexandre Langlois.

To watch the full interview, watch the video above.