Skip to main content

👍 👍 👍 Thumbs Up Emoji Creates Binding Contract According to Canadian Court 👍 👍 👍

Can a thumbs up emoji create a binding contract?  According to a judgement published last month by the Court of King’s Bench in Saskatchewan Canada it most certainly can.

The case (South West Terminal Ltd. v Achter) involved a disputed contract to purchase grain.  The parties had a conversation about the sale of grain at a certain price.  They had previous contractual relations.  After the conversation the Plaintiff sent the Defendant the contract and texted “please confirm flax contract.” to which the defendant responded with a thumbs up emoji.

After failing to deliver the grain the lawsuit was launched.  The Defendant argued there was no contract and the thumbs up emoji simply was confirmation of receiving the contract, not accepting it.  The court found that given the parties history the thumbs up was in fact an acceptance of the contract.   In reaching this decision the Court provided the following reasons:

[60]                                 The issue that remains is: is a 👍 emoji good enough to meet the requirements of the SGA in the unique circumstances of this case?

[61]                                 I find that the flax contract was “in writing” and was “signed” by both parties for the purposes of the SGA. There is no dispute that Kent electronically signed on behalf of SWT. The new twist is: did Chris’s 👍 emoji constitute a “signature”?

[62]                                 In my opinion the signature requirement was met by the 👍 emoji originating from Chris and his unique cell phone (agreed upon statement of facts para. 2; cross-examination of Chris T6.7-T6.10; T28.6-T28.20) which was used to receive the flax contract sent by Kent. There is no issue with the authenticity of the text message which is the underlying purpose of the written and signed requirement of s. 6 of the SGA. Again, based on the facts in this case – the texting of a contract and then the seeking and receipt of approval was consistent with the previous process between SWT and Achter to enter into grain contracts.

[63]                                 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” – to identify the signator (Chris using his unique cell phone number) and as I have found above – to convey Achter’s acceptance of the flax contract.