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Digital Signatures Policy

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Section 1 - Overview and Scope

(1) Digital signatures support the effective and efficient operations of the University in an increasingly digital environment. 

(2) This Policy outlines the appropriate use of digital signatures at the University of New England (UNE) and identifies when digital signatures are not to be used. 

(3) This Policy is consistent with the Electronic Transactions Act 2000 (ET Act), Corporations Act 2001 and the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998.

(4) This Policy should be read in conjunction with the University Seal and Signing Documents Rule


(5) This Policy applies to all UNE Representatives using a digital signature to sign contracts or University documentation in accordance with and subject to their delegated authority under the Financial Delegations Rule.

(6) This Policy does not cover the use of email ‘signature blocks’.

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Section 2 - Procedures

(7) The Electronic Transactions Act 2000 allows the use of electronic signatures on documentation where a signature is required. Accordingly, except where a law or other UNE policy requires a written signature, UNE Representatives may use a digital signature to sign University documentation. Key documents that cannot be signed by using a digital signature include:

  1. Documents relating to court proceedings (subject to the signing requirements of each jurisdiction);
  2. Agreements regulated by specific legislation – it may not be possible to rely on the ET Act to support electronically executed contracts that are regulated by specific legislation. The regulating statute may:
    1. be excluded from the operation of the ET Act;
    2. require the regulated contract’s execution to be witnessed; or
    3. prohibit, expressly or otherwise, electronic execution.
  3. Deeds; 
  4. Conveyances (eg: transfers) and guarantees; and
  5. Documents where there is a legal requirement for the signature to be witnessed.
Help: If you have any concerns about what documents can and cannot be signed using a digital signature, please contact the Legal Services (Legal).

(8) UNE Representatives must use Adobe Sign when digitally signing a document. No other programs or digital signatures are authorised.

Support: Information about how to use Adobe Sign contact the IT service desk via

(9) Digital signatures are legally binding and are the equivalent of a handwritten signature. UNE Representatives who use digital signatures are equally accountable as if they had signed the document manually.  

(10) UNE Representatives may only sign documents where they have a delegated authority to do so. No UNE Representative may allow any other UNE Representative (or any other person) to affix a digital signature on their behalf. Any such activity may be considered a breach of the Code of Conduct.

(11) An UNE Representative sending a contract to a signatory (UNE Representative or counter party) for signing must provide an advance email to the signatory:

  1. If the contract is being sent to a counter party the email must:
    1. request prior agreement from the counter party that the agreement will be executed electronically and to the method of e-signing to be adopted, i.e: Adobe Sign; and
    2. if the counter party is a company incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001, the UNE Representative sending the contract for execution must check the identity and position of the proposed signatory and obtain evidence of their authority to sign for the company.
  2. If the contract is being sent to a UNE Representative member for signing, the email should make the signatory aware that the contract is on its way for signing and if the UNE Representative does not receive the contract, they should immediately notify the Legal Services and the Technology and Digital Services Directorate.  

(12) UNE Representatives who use digital signatures using Adobe Sign should be aware of the Adobe Privacy Policy and in the event of an unauthorized access to, disclosure of, or use of, signatures stored in Adobe Sign, it must be reported to the UNE Privacy Manager immediatly as a potential potential data breach.

Records Management

(13) All documentation signed using a digital signature must be saved in the required location in the UNE Records Management System (RMS) in accordance with the Records Management Rule.

Help: If you an uncertain as to where to save the documentation in the UNE Records Management System (RMS), contact the Records team via
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Section 3 - Authority and Compliance


(14) The Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer, consistent with the Vice-Chancellor Functions Rule, makes this Policy.

(15) The Policy Administrator of this Policy, the Chief Operating Officer (COO), is authorised to make minor administrative updates to this Policy.


(16) UNE Representatives must observe this Policy in relation to University matters.

(17) The effective operations of this Policy are subject to review. Breaches of this Policy may be a breach of the Code of Conduct.

(18) This Policy operate as and from the Effective Date.

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Section 4 - Definitions relating to this document

(19) Adobe Sign – is the UNE authorised provider of digital signature facilities.

(20) Digital signature - means any letters, characters or symbols executed or adopted by an individual to be the legally binding equivalent of the individual’s handwritten signature.