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Explore the BoldSign features that make eSigning easier.

 

The advent of electronic signatures has transformed the way documents are verified, streamlining the process of concluding agreements both within Ireland and globally. These digital mechanisms facilitate the prompt and environmentally friendly execution of signatures, cutting down on paper consumption and expediting deal-making processes. Nonetheless, it is essential to comprehend the critical factors involved when integrating electronic signatures within the Irish context.

Individuals and organizations must opt for an eSignature system that is compliant with Irish legislation, especially the Electronic Commerce Act No. 27 of 2000. This act equates the legal validity of electronic signatures with that of traditional handwritten signatures. It is also important to note that certain documents may still require ink signatures, and legal requirements can vary by region; therefore, seeking legal advice is recommended.

Ensuring the security of the eSignature process is paramount. The chosen platform should offer robust security measures, including data encryption, user authentication protocols, and comprehensive audit trails to prevent unauthorized access and uphold the integrity of documents. Platforms such as BoldSign are designed to provide these security assurances, thereby aligning with compliance and security standards.

In summary, although electronic signatures offer significant advantages and are widely accepted, adherence to legal frameworks, prioritizing security, and the choice of a user-friendly platform is essential for their successful implementation in Ireland.

In accordance with the rules pertaining to electronic signatures in Ireland, an electronic signature is defined as data in an electronic format that is connected to, integrated with, or logically linked to other electronic data and is used to verify the identity of the supposed sender. Such signatures are deemed legally enforceable. For the majority of documents, the signatures must be reliably linked to the person signing and safeguarded against alterations or fraudulent activities. Fulfilling these conditions ensures that electronic signatures are considered as legally valid as their handwritten counterparts.

Typically, in Ireland, electronic signatures that comply with statutory requirements are considered legally valid in transactions. The operation of Electronic Signatures in Ireland is controlled by the Electronic Commerce Act No. 27 of 2000.

The regulation categorizes these types of signatures into two (Section 1 of the Act):

A standard electronic signature under the Act is a piece of data in an electronic format that is connected to, integrated within, or logically linked with other electronic data, and it functions as a way to verify the identity of the supposed sender.

An advanced eSignature is defined to be a standard electronic signature that meets conditions such as:

  • Uniquely linked to the person.
  • The use and incorporation remain in their sole control.
  • Able to identify the person using the technological process.
  • Easy to track down any alterations made after signing.

A secure electronic signature must be uniquely connected to the person who is using it. The signature must be uniquely made with methods that only the signer has access to, like a private key and confidential info, to verify their identity.

The person using the secure electronic signature must have sole control over the means of creating the signature. Typically, this requires managing a key pair or two-factor authentication, with the signer exclusively holding the private key to prevent unauthorized signature forgery.

The process used to create the signature must be capable of identifying the person signing. This may include the use of a biometric signature, a Personal Identification Number (PIN), an email address or even a company registration number.

It is essential to preserve the authenticity of the signed document. Modifications made to the document post-signature should be identifiable. This is commonly accomplished through an audit trail. Audit trails record the signer’s IP address, timestamps of key signing events, and location, providing proof of identity, timing, and place of signature.

Type of signature Section of the law Unique features Unique considerations as to use
Standard Electronic signatures Electronic Commerce Act No. 27 of 2000 Section. 1 None other than being data in electronic form N/A
Advanced Electronic Signatures
  • Uniquely linked to the user.
  • Able to identify that user.
  • Developed using means that can be maintained under the user's sole control.
  • Will be linked to such alterations can be detected.
  • Ground on the face-to-face identification of the user.

    S.13

  • Transactions with a public body.
  • Documents to be witnessed.
  • In place of seals required by law.

Electronic signature validity varies with document types, making them suitable for some transactions but not others. A detailed examination and a summary table of such transactions are provided below.

Electronic signatures can be employed to affix signatures and provide countersignatures on a diverse array of documents, such as:

  • Human resources
  • Procurement
  • Non-disclosure agreements (assuming they are contracts, not formal deeds)
  • Public petitions
  • Internal correspondences
  • End-user licences
  • Educational field
  • Offer letters

The Electronic Commerce Act, in Section 10, specifies exemptions for certain transactions where electronic signatures cannot be used to finalize documents.

  • A trust or an enduring power of attorney.
  • The law governing the manner in which an interest in real property may be created, acquired, disposed of or registered, other than contracts for the creation, acquisition or disposal of the interests.
  • The law governing the making of an affidavit or a statutory declaration, or requiring or permitting the use of one for any aim, or the regulations, practices or procedures of a court or tribunal.
Permissible transactions Exempted transactions
  • Human resources
  • Procument
  • Non-disclosure agreements (assuming they are contracts, not formal deeds)
  • Public petitions
  • Internal correspondences
  • End-user licences
  • Educational field
  • Offer letters
  • Wills
  • Codicils
  • Testamentary documents under the law of succession
  • Trusts
  • Power of attorney
  • Creation, acquisition or disposal of such interests
  • Statutory declarations
  • Practice or procedures of a court/tribunal

To ensure the authenticity of an electronic signature, it is advisable to follow these best practices while also complying with all applicable legal requirements:

In the case of George Maloney Vs Ted O’Connor and Donal Dunne [2015] IEHC 678, the court determined that a solicitor entering their pseudonym “Ger” at the bottom of a document had effectively created a legitimate electronic signature, sufficient to bind their client in a contract for land sale. This action was determined to have met the requirements for a note or memorandum as mandated by the Statute of Ireland Act of 1695 to serve as evidence of the contract.

That the printed names of the agents of the third and fourth defendants, appearing at the head of the document prepared on the 2nd February, 1976, was a sufficient signature by the authorised agents of those defendants on a memorandum for the purposes of the Statute of Frauds.

The following elements of compliance available within BoldSign can be used to comply with Ireland eSignature laws:

Disclaimer: Information on this page is intended to help businesses understand the legal framework of electronic signatures for this particular country.

However, Syncfusion, its officers, directors, stockholders, affiliates, attorneys, accountants, employees or agents cannot provide legal advice. You should consult your own personal attorney regarding your specific legal questions. Laws and regulations change frequently, and this information may not be current or accurate. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Syncfusion provides this material on an “as-is” basis. Syncfusion disclaims and makes no representation or warranty of any kind with respect to this material, express, implied or statutory, including representations, guarantees or warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or accuracy.

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