Are online petitions "legal"? Do they actually work?

The legal status of e-petitions (electronic, email or internet petitions) is in a state of flux. Some jurisdictions accept them and some don't. Scotland, Queensland (Australia), and Number 10 Downing Street (UK) all accept internet petitions. While internet petitions in some other jurisdictions may have no legal effect, the signatures of hundreds or thousands people represent a moral and persuasive force which can initiate change in many different circumstances. Non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International often use petitions in an attempt to exert moral authority in support of various causes.

At GoPetition, many Internet campaigners have reported success stories in a variety of jurisdictions regardless of legal protocol. GoPetition also takes the view that an Internet petition can be tabled in ANY jurisdiction as a miscellaneous document as long as the document has the support of a relevant tabling parliamentarian, councillor or government representative. So we view all petitions at GoPetition potentially legal and valid at the tabling stage (in relation to petitions submitted to councils, local or provincial, and state and federal parliaments (including Congress)).

In summary, many online petition campaigns are extremely effective, regardless of whether they are "legal" or not. GoPetition now documents success stories and testimonials to show exactly how effective online campaigns really are.

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