The EU has set ground rules for the member states. Electronic signatures are widely used in both the public and private sectors across the European Union. The EU Regulation (No 910/2014), also known as eIDAS, was passed by the European Parliament and the Council on July 23, 2014. This regulation, which pertains to electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market, took effect on July 1, 2016. It provides an EU-wide legal framework for electronic signatures and other trust services. The eIDAS regulation applies directly in all 27 EU Member States, eliminating the need for individual national implementation.
EIDAS groups esignatures into 3 large categories
Electronic Signature: Also known as a “simple” electronic signature, it is defined as “any data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign.” A signatory, a natural person who creates an electronic signature, can create this in several ways, such as typing their name into an electronic document, email, or using an online e-signing platform.
Advanced Electronic Signature (AdES): This is an electronic signature that meets additional requirements outlined in Article 26 of eIDAS. It must be:
Qualified Electronic Signature (QES): This is an advanced electronic signature created by a qualified electronic signature creation device (QESCD) and based on a qualified certificate for electronic signatures issued by a qualified trust service provider (QTSP).
Are they legal and are they considered accpetable?
eIDAS imposes a thorough regulatory and audit system on QTSPs to ensure they follow stringent security standards. This involves submitting a conformity assessment report to a supervisory body in an EU member state and proving that the QTSP and their QESCD comply with the requirements stipulated in eIDAS (Articles 20 and 24, eIDAS). The regulatory system is more taxing for QTSPs than for TSPs who provide electronic signatures. This bolsters trust in QES and the qualified certificates that support them.
Every EU Member State publishes and maintains a national trusted list of QTSPs and the qualified trust services they offer (Article 22, eIDAS). According to eIDAS, national trusted lists hold constitutive effect. This implies that the electronic signature is only a QES if the QTSP is listed in a trusted list. The European Commission operates a Trusted List Browser (https://esignature.ec.europa.eu/efda/tl-browser/#/screen/home) which allows customers to confirm that a QTSP is listed in a national trusted list.
The European Union’s Electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services (eIDAS) has not entirely standardized electronic signature laws across the EU and the UK. Recital 49 of eIDAS is crucial in determining when and if customers can use an electronic signature for their transactions. It states that aside from QES – which is equivalent to a handwritten signature – the legal impact of electronic signatures is still determined by national law. This means individual EU Member States and the UK can restrict the use of an electronic signature for specific transactions (like wills or property transfers) or demand a higher level of signature (such as an AdES or QES) for transaction approval.
Moreover, public registries (like property or probate registries) are free to demand a handwritten signature for registration purposes.
In France specifically
The following elements of compliance available within BoldSign can be used to comply with France eSignature laws:
Disclaimer: Information on this page is intended to help businesses understand the legal framework of electronic signatures for this particular country.
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