Emojis, such as the thumbs-up, are increasingly being recognised as a modern form of communication, satisfying writing requirements under electronic information acts, according to a report by Olisa Agbakoba Legal.
In a groundbreaking case in Saskatchewan, Canada, the Court of King’s Bench ruled that a thumbs-up emoji used in a text message constituted acceptance of an offer and met the writing requirement under the Sale of Goods Act.
The case involved a contract for the sale of flax, with the defendant, Achter, using a thumbs-up emoji in response to the offer. While Achter argued that the emoji only confirmed receipt of the draft contract, the court disagreed, ruling that the emoji signified acceptance.
The court’s decision was influenced by the established communication history between the parties. They had previously engaged in numerous contracts for flax, with Achter confirming offers with simple messages like “yup” or “ok.” Considering this history, the court concluded that a reasonable person would interpret the thumbs-up 👍emoji as acceptance of the contract terms.
This landmark decision has significant implications for the global legal and business communities, including Nigeria, and highlights the growing recognition of emojis as valid forms of communication in contract law.
The ruling, in this case, sets an international precedent that may influence contract law interpretation in Nigeria and other jurisdictions. Emojis can convey not only an expression of intent but also serve as valid forms of writing.
“This precedent may prompt Nigerian courts to review and potentially adopt emojis in their interpretation of written communication, considering the benefits and drawbacks involved,” Olisa Agbakoba Legal is a multi-sector specialist top tier Law firm in Nigeria, tweeted.
“As technology continues to shape our communication methods, it is essential for the law to adapt and keep up with these changes to ensure fair and effective legal outcomes.”
This thumbs-up case signifies a milestone in the recognition of emojis’ significance in contract law and emphasised the need for courts to keep pace with evolving communication methods.
As emojis become increasingly integral to communication, understanding their meaning and intent will be crucial in ensuring contract validity and enforcing legal agreements.