A Canadian court recognizes emojis as the legal equivalent of

A Canadian court recognizes emojis as the legal equivalent of a signature on a $60,000 contract

A court in Saskatchewan, Canada, ruled that the emoji was the legal equivalent of a signature — a local farmer was ordered to pay the equivalent of $61,442 for outstanding debt.

    Image source: Greg Bulla/unsplash.com

Image source: Greg Bulla/unsplash.com

A Canadian judge ruled that the “thumbs up” emoji was equivalent to a real signature, saying the court needed to adapt to the “new reality” of how people communicate. A recent ruling by the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench dealt with an unusual legal battle: A grain buyer sent out a mailing list to potential customers in March 2021, announcing that his company intended to buy 86 tons of flax at a price of about US$12.73 -Buy dollars a bushel.

Buyer Kent Mickleborough communicated with farmer Chris Achter via a smartphone and in November of the same year sent him a screenshot of the text of the contract for the supply of flax with a request to confirm the agreement in the message.

Akhter responded with a “thumbs up” emoji, but didn’t ship the flax within the agreed timeframe as prices had already gone up. The dispute turned into a legal battle, with the buyer arguing that the emoji was actually a confirmation of the terms of the contract. The seller himself insisted that his emoji could only serve as confirmation that he had received the message and that he did not have time to study the text of the contract. During the trial, the seller’s attorney objected to his cross-examination to determine whether Akhter understood the meaning of the “thumbs up” symbol. The defendant’s representative insisted that the farmer was “not an emoji expert”.

Judge Timothy Keene, using dictionary.com online dictionary during the trial, with the definition: in relation to the corresponding symbol, ironically lamented that the process forces the parties to an in-depth search for the equivalent of the so-called. the Rosetta Stone (which became the key to deciphering ancient Egyptian writing) to study precedents from Israel, upstate New York and some trials in Canada to get to the bottom of the meaning of the “thumbs up” emoji. The judge acknowledged that emojis were an unconventional way of signing a document, but in this case it fully served its purpose.

He also dismissed the defense’s fears that using the thumbs-up symbol as a signature would open up many possibilities for interpretation of other emoji, such as handshakes and punches. In the final decision, the judge ruled that the court cannot (and should not) seek to stop the spread of technology and the general use of emojis. “This seems to be the new reality of Canadian society and the courts need to be prepared for the new challenges that may come with the use of emojis and similar options.”he concluded.


About the author

Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

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