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  • Writer's pictureJohn McDonald

Who needs a signature when an emoji will do says Saskatchewan Court of King's Bench

In a recent decision of the Saskatchewan Court of King's Bench a contract dispute involving a "thumbs up" emjoi as a form of acceptance of an agreement was upheld.

In Southwest Terminal v Achter Land & Cattle 2023 SKKB 116, it was undisputed, and in fact submitted in an agreed statement of facts that SWT's employee, after negotiation the terms of an agreement, reduced them into writing, mostly being that Achter would deliver 86 tonnes of flax to SWT, SWT would pay $17.00 per bushell delivered in November 2021, SWT applied an ink signature to the agreement, texted it to Achter along with the statement "please confirm Flax contract" to which Achter replied with a "thumbs up emoji" Achter then did not deliver 86 tonnes of Flax and SWT incurred approx $82,000.00 in damages which were ultimately awarded to SWT in a sumarry judgment hearing.

Perhaps the greatest line to come out of this decision is " I agree that this case is novel (at least in Saskatchewan) but nevertheless this Court cannot (nor should it) attempt to stem the tide of technology and common usage – this appears to be the new reality in Canadian society and courts will have to be ready to meet the new challenges that may arise from the use of emojis and the like."

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