Emoji in Contracts: A Canadian Judicial Precedent
Emojis in Daily Conversation
At a time when “emoji” has become an integral part of our daily conversation, it seems that their status will evolve even more.
A Canadian court ruled that the use of emoji is mandatory in contracts between individuals or legal entities.
And it turns out that a court in Saskatchewan recently upheld in case law a farmer’s obligation under a cooperative contract in which he used a “thumb” emoji to respond to them as a token of his approval, and awarded him an 82,000 Canadian dollar settlement (about $61,000), according to the Washington Post.
Judge T.J. Kane, who ruled in the case, said that thanks to technology, emoji have become the language of communication and conversation, and the justice system will have to fight it moving forward.
He also noted that this court should not stop the tide of technology and the general use of its technologies, given that this is a new reality in Canadian society, and the courts must be prepared for new challenges that may arise from the use of emoji and like, he said.
Notably, the origin of the dispute between the farmer and the cooperative dates back to 2020, when during the Corona pandemic, he stopped communicating directly with farmers face to face and began to conduct business via email remotely.
Both parties entered into a contract to purchase his 2021 flax crop at approximately $500 per ton as the contract was sent to him signed by the association and a photo of him was sent to the farmer with a message that included “please confirm the flax contract”, to which the farmer responded with a “thumbs up”.
After that, the farmer never delivered the crop, prompting the association to sue him for breach of contract, which he agreed to with the emoji expression.
The farmer said he responded with a “smiley face” to express his receipt of the contract and not sign it.