Pen Trivia - Contracts and Signing on the Dotted Line

Tuesday, April 07, 2015 0 Comments A+ a-

Contracts have always required a signature to become legally binding. Typically, contracts are oral or written, but written contracts have typically been preferred in common law systems. Hand written permanent ink signatures are the usual mode of agreement. In this fast paced world of new technology an electronic signature is now also accepted.

If a contract is in a written form, and somebody signs it, then the signer is typically bound by its terms regardless of whether they have actually read it provided the document is contractual in nature.

To sign on the dotted line: Agree formally or fully, as in The deal is just about fixed; all they have to do is sign on the dotted line. This idiom refers to the broken line traditionally appearing at the bottom of a legal document, indicating the place for one's signature. [Early 1900s]

Using a fine writing instrument makes a statement of committed permanence when signing contracts that mark the important stages of our life such as buying a new home, purchasing your first car, filling out paperwork for a new job and filing for a marriage license.
Question: When and where was the first legislation created to acknowledge and require signed contracts?

Answer:  In 1677 England passed the Statute of Frauds which influenced similar stature of frauds laws in the United States and other countries such as Australia, which honoring signed and binding contracts.