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At the time of the creation of the original Statute of Frauds in 1677 and its adaptation in a host of states of the United States, novel technology such as E-mail, facsimile transmissions, and EDI were unthought of.
This column briefly discusses the enforceability of electronically generated contracts. Law and technology are not synchronized due to the methods by which they evolve. Technology progresses rapidly, being naturally proactive. Law evolves slowly over time, and is characteristically reactive to problems rather than proactive in nature. Generally speaking, from judicial opinions or statutes evolve the rules of law - a slow tedious process at best.
In 1677, the English Parliament promulgated a pesky little statute known as the Statute of Frauds. The Statute specified certain contracts that were required to be in writing and signed by the party to be charged under the contracts (i.e. the defendant) in order to be enforceable against him/her. Those contracts were as follows:
1. Promises of an Executor or Administrator to pay the debts of the decedent's …