Today, it is very common to sign contracts digitally. Electronic signatures have quickly changed the way we transact with our business partners, authorities, suppliers and customers.

Having to wait for physical documents to be printed, signed and returned often takes a long time and becomes very inefficient. With electronic signatures, instead, this can be done quickly in real time. Anywhere. Anytime.

But which laws and regulations apply when applying electronic signatures?

Are electronic signatures legally binding?

Electronic signatures are legally binding. According to the eIDAS Regulation (EU 910/2014), electronic signatures are binding throughout the EU (according to Article 25).

"An electronic signature may not be denied legal effect or validity as evidence in legal proceedings solely because the signature is in electronic form or does not meet the requirements for qualified electronic signatures".

What is the eIDAS Regulation?

eIDAS stands for Electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services. The eIDAS Regulation established a framework to ensure that electronic interactions between businesses are safer, faster and more efficient, regardless of the European country in which they take place.

It is a European regulation that created a single framework for electronic identification (eID) and trusted services, making it easier to provide services across the EU.

What’s an electronic signature?

The eIDAS regulation defines three types of electronic signatures: simple electronic signature (SES), advanced electronic signature (AdES) and qualified electronic signature (QES).

Simple electronic signature (SES) can be basically any type of signature made in an electronic environment where the signer has indicated his intention, e.g. by clicking a button or ticking a box, and is thus bound by the contents of the signed document.

In the Nordic countries, advanced electronic signature (AdES) means that the person identifies himself at the time of signing with BankID or Freja eID (in Sweden), BankID (in Norway), MitID (in Denmark) or Tupas (in Finland). With the e-signature module in DealManager, you can create either a simple signature or an advanced electronic signature for your documents.

How to make sure the right person signs my e-signature document?

The intention itself is the basis for a contract to be legally binding. This means that the signing party understands and accepts the terms offered and clearly shows its intention to enter into the agreement.

However, in the event of a dispute, additional evidence may be required, such as proof of the identity of the signer and the integrity of the document.

The person who performs the electronic signature is the actual signing party and the person's email address is usually sufficient as proof. With the e-signature module in DealManager, which takes place seamlessly via an integration with Scrive, there is also the possibility to further confirm the identity of the signature with a PIN code via SMS and e-identification.

In the event of any dispute, Scrive can prove that a document has not been altered, forged or manipulated. This is done by sealing each signed document with a digital signature.

In summary, electronic signatures are legally binding as long as there are no special requirements that the agreement may not be signed electronically.