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If I ✍️ a 📄 using emojis instead of words, does that affect the validity of the 📄?

Example:

Mary will only use the 🔑 to open the front 🚪 of John's 🏡 in order to feed his 🐈. Mary will feed the 🐈 three times every day for one 🗓️. John will pay Mary 💯💲.

What if an emoji is ambiguous? A contract to sell a 🔫 could involve a firearm or a water gun, depending on fonts.

Of course, this isn't a good idea.

2 Answers 2

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Yes

Written contracts do not have to be written in any particular language or character set. Purely visual contracts are used and are legally binding.

If a pictorial term is ambiguous it is resolved by the court the same way as a textual term would be.

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    Jul 15, 2023 at 20:58
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Thumbs up emojis are equivalent to signatures in Canada.

Recently, a Canadian judge ruled that a thumbs-up emotional was legally equivalent to a signature.

This court readily acknowledges that a 👍 emoji is a non-traditional means to ‘sign’ a document but nevertheless under these circumstances this was a valid way to convey the two purposes of a ‘signature’,” he wrote.

Keene also dismissed defence concerns that allowing the thumbs up emoji to signify acceptance “would open up the flood gates” to new interpretations of other emojis, including the ‘fist bump’ and ‘hand shake’. In finding that the thumbs-up can be used to enter into contracts, Keene said the court “cannot (nor should it) attempt to stem the tide of technology and common usage” of emojis.

“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.”

It also appears that other emojis thst convey acceptance of a deal such as the fist bump or handshake would also qualify as being equivalent to a signature.

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    Note that this was a very (very) context-sensitive reading of a very particular interaction. Because the two parties in this case had executed many other contracts via text using very informal language, the judge found that an objective observer would interpret this particular thumbs up emoji as acceptance of the offered contract. The same emoji sent by a different counterparty without that long history would likely result in a different interpretation. Jul 17, 2023 at 18:27

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