Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM News

Emojis Are Increasingly Legally Binding. But They're Still Open to Wide Interpretation

View as: Print Mobile App Share:
This emoji is legally binding.

Overarching guidance on the topic of emojis as legally binding is still lacking, with many factors, such as the circumstances of a case and the specific judge, deciding what an emoji might mean.

Credit: icons gate/Adobe Stock

A Canadian farmer in the province of Saskatchewan is liable to pay thousands for undelivered flax thanks to a "thumbs-up" emoji he apparently didn't realize had legal impact—and he isn't the first person to experience such repercussions in North America.

On June 8, a judge presiding over the case South West Terminal Ltd. v Achter Land & Cattle in the court of King's Bench for Saskatchewan ruled that a buyer who sent a contract to a seller and received a thumbs up emoji over text in response is right to think that the emoji was as legally binding as a signature.

For contract attorneys, the Canadian case was interesting, but not all that surprising. They told Legaltech News that lawsuits over the meaning of an emoji in a legal context have ramped up in recent years, with tens of such cases each year in the U.S. alone.

View Full Article



No entries found

Sign In for Full Access
» Forgot Password? » Create an ACM Web Account