When is an electronic signature legally binding?

In the digital age, we want to replace the good old handshake and the handwritten ink signature with the more modern and flexible electronic signature.

In the Nordic countries, we are known for our high penetration and coverage of internet access and mobile devices. Important key drivers for the success of building advanced digital services. This has given us many years of experience with electronically signed contracts, resulting in better customer experience and lower handling cost.

With more than 10 years of experience with national eID schemes, as well as with electronic signatures, the alignment and adoption to the national legislation is well in place. At the end of the day it all comes down to the strength of the evidence being put together.

10 years is still a long time and solutions evolve based on requirements and experience.

New EU regulation replaces electronic signature directive

eIDAS (EU regulation #910/2014) replacing the old Electronic Signatures Directive 1999/93/EC, is stating that qualified electronic signatures have the same legal status as a handwritten signature, and must not be rejected.

Up until know the requirements to a qualified signature has been so costly and the user experience has in general been bad, so the adoption has not been widespread and adopted. This has resulted in alternative “solutions” to qualified signatures as mentioned below.

The alternative to qualified electronic signature is called advanced electronic signature. The complexity and requirements in the advanced electronic signature is lower, and have been the basis for many of the successful national eID schemes like BankID in Norway and Sweden and NemID in Denmark.

High priority on both compliance and user friendly electronic signing

At Signicat we are working with our 3rd generation of the “electronic signing ceremony”, where user experience and mobile channels receive top priority.  Our customers are eager to follow the adoption of more user-friendly electronic signing flows, but at the same time focused on compliance and do not take any chances at all in this respect.

Since there are no standards or practical definitions setting the scene for advanced electronic signature, Signicat asked an external 3rd party to do an assessment of our 3rd generation electronic signing ceremony.

Download a legal assessment from Bird & Bird

electronic signingWe commissioned an international law firm – Bird & Bird – to do this assessment covering Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland focusing on two areas:

  • The national eID scheme (electronic signature) in relation to EU legislation (eIDAS – AES – QES)
  • The implementation of electronic signed agreements in the national legislation

The conclusion is that the Signicat Signature solution in combination with the national eID schemes covered, comply with the level corresponding to AES (Advanced Electronic Signature) and this has been adopted in the national legislations.

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